Coffee Break: Peet’s Chestnut Street, San Francisco

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February 21, 2014
Bay Area coffee company Peet’s recently unveiled a new design for its San Francisco, California, flagship store. Located in an 80-year-old art deco building, the cafe is kitted out materials, furniture, and artwork that speak more closely to the brand’s identity than the previous aesthetics and layout did. The storefront at 2080 Chestnut Street in the city’s Marina district is the first in a gradual redesign of the company’s retail establishments, which will slowly roll out in the San Francisco and Washington D.C. areas starting this year.
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  “On April 1, 2014, Peet’s will be 48 years old,” says Michael Williams, Vice President of Store Development. “Retail is an evolution and this is a new chapter in our story. Quality, craft, and passion are our core tenets and we wanted to insert that into the store environment.”Debbie Kristofferson, Vice President of Brand and Creative Strategy for Peets, says customer feedback about the previous retail experience wasn’t on par with how they felt about the coffee. “We wanted to tell the brand’s story in a way that will be meaningful, interesting, and will connect with people,” she says.

    “On April 1, 2014, Peet’s will be 48 years old,” says Michael Williams, Vice President of Store Development. “Retail is an evolution and this is a new chapter in our story. Quality, craft, and passion are our core tenets and we wanted to insert that into the store environment.”

    Debbie Kristofferson, Vice President of Brand and Creative Strategy for Peets, says customer feedback about the previous retail experience wasn’t on par with how they felt about the coffee. “We wanted to tell the brand’s story in a way that will be meaningful, interesting, and will connect with people,” she says.

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  Williams and his team developed a material palette for the new design that they could easily deploy on a national scale: oak, steel, brick, concrete, and Carrara marble. He describes the flagship’s renovation as a type of urban archaeology. “Every building has its own special attributes and we try to discover that,” Williams says. “This one had 80 years of previous tenants and their ideas and we stripped it back. This was the most honest way to express the structure.” Since Peet’s doesn’t own any of its buildings, flexibility was key and finding a mix of materials that would work in nearly any renovation but still look unified as a whole was a challenge.

    Williams and his team developed a material palette for the new design that they could easily deploy on a national scale: oak, steel, brick, concrete, and Carrara marble. He describes the flagship’s renovation as a type of urban archaeology. “Every building has its own special attributes and we try to discover that,” Williams says. “This one had 80 years of previous tenants and their ideas and we stripped it back. This was the most honest way to express the structure.” Since Peet’s doesn’t own any of its buildings, flexibility was key and finding a mix of materials that would work in nearly any renovation but still look unified as a whole was a challenge.

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  A living wall designed in collaboration with David Brenner of Habitat Horticulture introduces greenery into the cafe. "It makes you feel like you're in a courtyard," Williams says. "It helps with acoustics and plays with something soft that's not with the rest of the kit of parts." Emeco's iconic Navy chairs punctuate the interior. "We tried to select objects that are beautiful and functional," Williams says. His team looked at we looked at hundreds of chairs and were searching for a design that would work well with the overall look of the cafe but also stand out. The floor is reclaimed oak.

    A living wall designed in collaboration with David Brenner of Habitat Horticulture introduces greenery into the cafe. "It makes you feel like you're in a courtyard," Williams says. "It helps with acoustics and plays with something soft that's not with the rest of the kit of parts." Emeco's iconic Navy chairs punctuate the interior. "We tried to select objects that are beautiful and functional," Williams says. His team looked at we looked at hundreds of chairs and were searching for a design that would work well with the overall look of the cafe but also stand out. The floor is reclaimed oak.

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  “We wanted people feel welcome, not on the clock,” Williams says. “The design needs to be open and accessible to everyone.” Coffee shops have been social gathering places for centuries and Peet’s recognized the changing ways that people use them. To accommodate the growing ranks of people who work remotely, the company eliminated time restrictions on WiFi and ensured that there were ample outlets for electronics. Comfortable Mission-style lounge chairs encourage patrons to linger.

    “We wanted people feel welcome, not on the clock,” Williams says. “The design needs to be open and accessible to everyone.” Coffee shops have been social gathering places for centuries and Peet’s recognized the changing ways that people use them. To accommodate the growing ranks of people who work remotely, the company eliminated time restrictions on WiFi and ensured that there were ample outlets for electronics. Comfortable Mission-style lounge chairs encourage patrons to linger.

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  A CNC-milled map of San Francisco by artist Dave Marcoulier hangs behind a communal table. The red star denotes the cafe's location. As a local company, Peet's sought to reflect the neighborhood and orient the design to its surroundings.

    A CNC-milled map of San Francisco by artist Dave Marcoulier hangs behind a communal table. The red star denotes the cafe's location. As a local company, Peet's sought to reflect the neighborhood and orient the design to its surroundings.

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  The new design also helps baristas work more skillfully behind the counter. In addition to the newly designed space, Peet's is also offering fresh food for the first time. Local chef Arnold Eric Wong developed the menu.

    The new design also helps baristas work more skillfully behind the counter. In addition to the newly designed space, Peet's is also offering fresh food for the first time. Local chef Arnold Eric Wong developed the menu.

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