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April 4, 2014
Sightglass Coffee's 20th street outpost is an archetypal San Francisco cafe—a space built to reflect the same values as the coffee sold within. The interior, masterminded by local firm Boor Bridges Architecture, showcases a wealth of handcrafted details and an industrial sensibility that pays homage to the original character of the space. Firm principal Seth Boor and architect Anand Sheth take us on a guided tour.
Sightglass Coffee 20th Street by Boor Bridges Architecture

Located at 3014 20th street San Francisco's Mission district, Sightglass joins a coterie of establishments that cater to a discerning culinary palette—Flour + Water, Central Kitchen, Salumeria, and Trick Dog, to name a few. "San Francisco has always been a design-forward, neighborhood-oriented city," architect Anand Sheth says. "Each neighborhood has its own identity and energy, and cafes—especially the thoughtfully designed ones—serve as mini community centers."

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Sightglass Coffee 20th Street by Boor Bridges Architecture

Boor Bridges Architecture has become a go-to design firm for third-wave coffee establishments in San Francisco. In addition to Sightglass 20th Street, it counts The Mill, Four Barrel Coffee, and Sightglass's first location in SOMA in its portfolio of cafes and shows no signs of slowing down. "The third wave coffee trend has allowed us to explore many of our design interests, including crafted and intricate custom details and lighting, honest and exposed materiality, adaptive reuse of existing industrial spaces, and the merging of manufacturing and retail functions in one space," Boor says.

Working with general contractor Kevin Smith of SmithBuilt and a talented group of metal workers, furniture craftsmen, lighting specialists, and more, Boor Bridges created an inviting space that includes a full-production roaster, espresso bar, pour-over station, and retail.

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Sightglass Coffee 20th Street by Boor Bridges Architecture

The double-height interior features custom furniture and built-ins. The ceiling is redwood sap wood sourced from the North Bay and milled by SmithBuilt. The flooring is ceramic Dal-Tile. Furniture maker Jesse Fritts designed the bar stools.

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Sightglass Coffee 20th Street by Boor Bridges Architecture

The banquette is upholstered in leather from B&L Commercial Seating. The fixed tables are proportioned for the food and drink sevred at Sightglass and two of the tables are ADA accessible. "Lingering is encouraged but lengthy stays during peak times are not," Boor says. "This was a request from the client that was accommodated by incorporating a single-sided banquette—great for people watching while you sip your coffee—and flexible stools to allow for varying group sizes." The custom terrarium and plantings above the entrance are by Crooked Nest.

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Sightglass Coffee 20th Street by Boor Bridges Architecture

The bar counter is Cararra marble and the metalwork is by Hicks Metal.

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Sightglass Coffee 20th Street by Boor Bridges Architecture

Boor Bridges worked with the owners, brothers Justin and Jerad Morrison, to develop the espresso station and optimize it for workflow. Luigi Oldani fabricated the pastry case, which is oriented so that people can see all of the goods at once instead of having to hunch down. Boor Bridges designed the teak-and-brass wall shelving and it was fabricated by Lucas Ford (wood) and Tommy Hicks (metal).

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Sightglass Coffee 20th Street by Boor Bridges Architecture

Sap wood is joined on a bias, creating a geometric pattern on the ceiling.

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Sightglass Coffee 20th Street by Boor Bridges Architecture

Beans by the pound are available for sale. Steve Valdez fabricated the steel, glass, and brass door. "The entry door started with a sketch from us—connecting the patterning of other elements in the space with the entry door details was a main driver, and it really took off in the hands of the fabricator," Sheth says.

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Sightglass Coffee 20th Street by Boor Bridges Architecture

The space was originally light manufacturing. Because of the roastery on the ground floor—on a roaster from Probat—and the packaging and wholesale operation on the second story, it still retains that designation.

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Sightglass Coffee 20th Street by Boor Bridges Architecture

Tommy Hicks fabricated the metal wall sconces and Malder Lighting handled the wiring and UL listing. "The wall sconces relate to the shelf sconces in their simplicity, their exposed wiring, and their materiality," Sheth says.

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Sightglass Coffee 20th Street by Boor Bridges Architecture

Located at 3014 20th street San Francisco's Mission district, Sightglass joins a coterie of establishments that cater to a discerning culinary palette—Flour + Water, Central Kitchen, Salumeria, and Trick Dog, to name a few. "San Francisco has always been a design-forward, neighborhood-oriented city," architect Anand Sheth says. "Each neighborhood has its own identity and energy, and cafes—especially the thoughtfully designed ones—serve as mini community centers."

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