Little Ground Cafe

Glendale / United States / 2016

25
25 Love 3,023 Visits Published

A study in texture, transparency and materiality, this corner walk-up cafe aims to inspire and enhance the area’s rare pedestrian culture. The main focus of the design is to create a calm, inviting public space that directly engages its frenetic urban setting.
The cafe is located in a district where thousands of workers drive into their fully serviced closed campuses for 8-12 hours a day and seldom leave, primarily due to the lack of outside options. The nearest residential neighborhood is a ten minute walk from this busy corner, which serves direct access to a major LA freeway. Pedestrian activity in the area is lacking, to say the least - but the desire is clearly present.
Through a grandfathered zoning code which allows sidewalk counter service, the owners expanded the footprint of the enclosed structure, which houses the kitchen, food prep area, coffee service and restrooms for the new cafe. Through negotiations with the city, and an offer to also improve disabled access within the structure and at the sidewalk, the footprint of the patio was allowed to expand.
Confronted with ubiquitous Angeleno issues that occur where the pedestrian realm meets highly trafficked corners, the design addresses needs for safety and protection from automobiles, noise, pollutants and litter. The combination of a cast-in-place wall with built-in seating and a patterned wood screen guards visitors from all of the above while also creating an intimate space with views diffused from within. With its semi-enclosed nature and sun shading qualities, the cafe becomes a place of respite while still connecting to the street.
The real joy in the project came from working with the patterning, texture and connections of the various wood slats, steel and concrete elements. Variability in the size, angle, color and spacing of the cedar screen draws attention from passersby [at all speeds], as well as offers differing degrees of shading and view mitigation. The concrete seating is contoured for comfort and follows an arc at the corner, allowing for seamless continuity and flow of materials.
The cafe's service area has a full service kitchen with walk-in freezer and multiple cooking stations. This allows them to prepare pastries in-house throughout the day. They also prepare their own bread and make a wonderful lunch. You'll love it here.
Winner of AIA California Design Award
Winner of AIA Los Angeles Restaurant Design Award
Winner of AIA Los Angeles Restaurant Design People's Choice Award
Interior Design Best of Year Awards Finalist, 2017, Hospitality-Counter Service

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    A study in texture, transparency and materiality, this corner walk-up cafe aims to inspire and enhance the area’s rare pedestrian culture. The main focus of the design is to create a calm, inviting public space that directly engages its frenetic urban setting. The cafe is located in a district where thousands of workers drive into their fully serviced closed campuses for 8-12 hours a day and seldom leave, primarily due to the lack of outside options. The nearest residential neighborhood...

    Project details
    • Year 2016
    • Work finished in 2016
    • Status Completed works
    • Type Bars/Cafés / Interior Design
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