Liverpool One Costa Coffee

Location: Liverpool

Client: Grosvenor Estates

Sector: Office, Commercial, Mixed Use

Cost: £1m

Status: Completed July 2008

Our brief from Grosvenor Estates was to design a distinctive facade for a new coffee shop located at the entrance to Liverpool One, the company’s flagship retail regeneration project in the heart of Liverpool. They wanted something bold and colourful, a powerful visual statement bridging art and architecture that would act as a gateway to the new development, while also forming a distinctive landmark on this major pedestrian crossroads in Liverpool’s city centre. The design response had to engage with its context, yet become a powerful, albeit small, beacon of the city’s new vibrancy.

A variety of facade strategies and materials were put forward and explored in an intense series of meetings with the client and other various stakeholders, through which it soon became clear that a simple ‘veil’ of brightly coloured, vertical aluminium tubes was the preferred solution. These would provide necessary sunsading, in particular to the upper floor, while still allowing views out and, more importantly, allowing relatively easy access to the windows for cleaning purposes.Precedents for the use of colourful stripes in art and design abound, from the paintings of Bridget Riley to the designs by Paul Smith, but it was clearly important to come up with a distinctive palette of colours. In a football obsessed city, too much Liver-pool red or Everton blue was probably best avoided, so instead we proposed combining them. Referencing Kandinsky’s link between colour and music, the background in shades of purple provides the rhythm, while the tune is provided by other brighter colours.