In just over four years, Starbucks senior designer Hannelore Freer has worked on an impressive range of stores across Latin America, including her homeland of Puerto Rico. So when Freer had the opportunity to venture to Colombia to design a new Starbucks store location in Bogota, she knew it was one she couldn’t pass up.
“Colombia was different from anything I’d worked on,” said Freer, now based in Starbucks creative studio in Miami. “Starbucks has a deep history with Colombia and its spectacular coffee landscape, going back forty years. We wanted to honor that heritage, while celebrating the city’s vibrancy and diversity.”
Freer and her team recently (August, 5 2014) unveiled their creation – a two-story, 4,165 sq. ft. Starbucks location in the LG Building in Bogota’s bustling neighborhood of Chico Norte, home to international embassies, banks, and global businesses. This store follows Starbucks at Parque de la 93, a one-of-a-kind café that marked Starbucks entry to Colombia on July 16, 2014. Like the first location, the Starbucks store in Chico Norte serves 100% locally sourced Colombian coffee.
In Colombia, the team worked closely with Perceptual Studios, Zientte, ACrrin, 5am, Rolformados and Ana Reza-Hadden to create custom furniture, art screens, and locally inspired motifs and patterns that reflect the craftsmanship of the pre-Colombian gold era. Starbucks also sourced specially produced clay bricks from the nearby town of Ciudad Bolivar. Each brick was custom cut and dried in the sun and in traditional stone ovens creating a unique patina.
Beyond Colombia, the team ventured south to Santiago, Chile, and north to Brooklyn, New York, to find signature design elements to complement the locally inspired design.
One of the most striking features of the store is a wall-to-ceiling installation, made with an upcycled material prepared in Rancagua, Chile with used napkins, cups, newspapers and packing boxes sourced from Starbucks stores in Santiago. The installation, made up of more than 140 (12in x 24in) large diamond shaped tiles, was designed by Freer and engineered in collaboration with RUIZSOLAR and Orlando Gatica STUDIO.
The lightweight, sustainable tiles provide sound absorption and match the store’s color palette. Each tile is mounted to the wall and ceiling with the help of a strong magnet and rod, lending the installation a light, mobile feel.
“When we came across this material, I knew we could do something special with it” said Freer. “Each piece is light, airy and seems to float, reminding me of a coffee tree leaf blowing in a light harvest breeze.”
This video shows the making of the art installation, from a facility in Chile to the store in Colombia.
Over in New York, the team found custom light fixtures handcrafted with 90% recycled brass by Brooklyn-based designer Doug Newton. Starbucks also sourced some of the lounge furniture from John Celli, upholstered with recycled leather. The Old Wood Co. in Asheville, North Carolina, designed some of the industrial side tables and the exterior café chairs were handcrafted with iron wire by LA-based Bend.
From traditional motifs, to regional materials, to showcasing both local and international artistry, Freer wanted to create a space that reflects Starbucks love for coffee, community and handcrafted details.
“The irony is that I’d never been to Colombia until I started working on this project. As I immersed myself in the neighborhood and the culture, and began collaborating with an amazing group of artists, the design for this store became distinct,” Freer said. “It is the type of design opportunity you dream about – the kind you can only find working at Starbucks.”
Photos by Andrés Calderón for Starbucks