Nespresso has unveiled a sleek new flagship - its first boutique on the West Coast - in San Francisco. Dwell was on the scene at the launch party to take a peek inside the gleaming two-story boutique on Union Square.
Described as the "West Coast Boutique Bar," the new shop at 90 Grant Avenue is the West Coast flagship for Nespresso, the global coffee company that sells portioned, premium coffees and machines. It's a neat model of integrated hardware and product paired with personalized service, and the retail store is a similarly design-driven experience with different stations for buying, trying, and lounging.
A wood-paneled bar is the first stop inside (we recommend the cappuccino). The company hopes the Union Square shop, with its espresso bar and an additional spacious lounge, will become a welcome spot for coffee lovers to linger. "San Francisco is a natural fit for Nespresso because the epicurean city is known for its appreciation for premium coffee offerings and quality products,” says Nespresso President Frederic Levy. The bar serves light breakfast, lunch, and dinner - featuring locally-sourced fare - in addition to espresso and espresso-based drinks.
A split-level view from the airy central staircase offers a glimpse of streamlined shopping vignettes below and the lounge area on the street-level floor. (There's also a "Discovery Ring" for learning about the company's coffees - 16 varieties make the line - and choosing the right machine. Tutoring lessons are even available for aspiring at-home baristas.)
The lower level features dark wood paneling and dramatic color. Individual coffee portions, machines, and accessories appear to pop like gems. It's all in vibrant contrast to the street-level floor's light, white scheme - and has the effect of feeling like you're descending into a hold of treasure from an open-air deck above.
The Self Selection Room is equipped with the full range of Nespresso's 16 Grand Cru coffee choices in neatly arranged shelves; rectangular coffee tubes pop out like lipsticks. Customers who are members of Nespresso can select their preferred coffee, checkout with a swipe of a member card, and be out the door in under two minutes. It's the only one of its kind amongst Nespresso's U.S. boutiques.
A large, light-filled lounge with Fritz Hansen and Cappellini furnishings looks out onto the bustle of Union Square. The Boutique was designed by Italian architect Aldo Parisotto and Futurebrand Paris and Nespresso is pursuing LEED Gold certification.