Coffee is ingrained into Small Victory bakery | Expressive interiors

With all the ingredients of a welcoming coffee house, the third Small Victory bakery and café opens in Vancouver, featuring a suspended wheat art installation. 

The story behind the family-run eatery, that specialises in coffee and bread, is told through its materiality and attention to detail. Emma Sims and Darcy Hanna of Vancouver-based multidisciplinary studio &Daughters have created a material palette that works with the concrete columns and slab bands that transect the space. 

Its location on the main floor of a podium tower development means that the bakery’s layout needed to work with the trapezoid-shaped unit, and adapt to the open and porous perimeters on each side. The coffee bar is “conceptualised as the café’s beating heart” according to Sims and Hanna. It’s sleekly clad in grey stone with under-counter espresso machines, allowing for a “barrier-free experience” between customers and staff. 

An inverted hanging wheat installation provides a standout feature, suspended above the coffee bar to draw people into the middle of the space. With its playful and textured appearance, it not only adds an interesting talking point but it also provides an antidote to the large concrete pillars that dominate the interior architecture. 

“The soft, dense mass references the bakery’s primary ingredient, wheat, whilst also providing the functional service of absorbing sound from the reverberant space,” explain Sims and Hanna. “The sheaves of wheat are arranged in an 8’-0’’ x 8’-0’’ square, and hung upside down to create an inverted wheat field that floats above the baristas and occupants of the bar.” 

&Daughters have layered warm accents, such as wood and brass, over solid and hardwearing materials to tell the story of the coffee shop. In fact, the brass is given an interesting treatment, as Sims and Hanna explain how a coffee immersion technique was used to embed waste coffee grounds from their other Small Victory coffee shops into the metal. 

“The latent acidity in the grounds creates a dappled patina on the surface of the metal,” explained collaborating design studio New Format. 

“The inspiration for creating this finish was to find a way to reflect the cafe’s own makings in the interior of the space, by taking what would be discarded and integrating it into the experience of the environment. The resulting unplanned patterns create a spontaneity that aligns with the materially aware and elegant space”, adds the team behind New Format. 

Project details:

Project name: Small Victory

Location: Vancouver, Canada

Interior design: &Daughters

Wheat art installation: By Nature

Oak stools: Lonna from Made by Choice

Baker chair: &Daughters (now available to buy online from Lock & Mortice)

Materials: Grey porcelain (Master Plan in Plain Cinder by Stone Tile); Solid surface for the banquettes (Modern Concrete by Meganite); Metal fabrication and coffee immersion brass finish (all by New Format); Tundra Grey Marble (by Marble Art); Stainless steel bread display (by New Format); Leather for banquette seats (Siena by KB Fabrics); Fabric for banquette backrests (Mode Cottontail by Maharam)

Photography: Conrad Brown

Find out more about the Small Victory bakery by &Daughters.

Take a look at more design news stories on enki, including the beautiful vintage oak and stainless steel kitchen by Wood Works.

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