Jú Café, Chengdu City, Sichuan Province China

Located on the ground floor of a rather dreary and worn-out residential building, the cute Jú Café is a happy addition to the well-established residential community.

The café is lit differently depending on the time of the day, making it a highly visible beacon especially at night when the neon-coloured lights draw attention to its odd-shaped façade.

Created by the Chengdu-based One Space Design the café design is a fun mix of what looks almost like an ancient cave with what is a distinctly contemporary look.

One Space Design founder Denny Ho draws from both Asian and North American experience as he was born in Taiwan, immigrated to the United States as a child, graduated from Art Institute of California and then, in 2008, after 14 years in the United States, he settled in Chengdu.

His experience in industrial design, furniture design and interior design all come together in compact projects such as Jú Café where he also designed most of the furnishings and fixtures.

The 99-square-metre (1,065 sq.ft) space was originally nothing more than a nondescript, dark area but with the  white and curving external shapes, the little three-seat take-out window it looks immediately different from the outside, clearly separate from the building it is attached to.

Inside, more white arches, curving shapes and rounded fixtures continue the theme, but they are offset with strictly linear and angular shelves, counters and seating. With this juxtaposition, the designer manages to avoid the overly cute and saccharine feel that could result in taking this kind of tact.

We have covered a few Chinese cafés recently that carry some of the same characteristics as Jú: An unusual shape language in an otherwise featureless residential building in Banananana in Hangzhou  and a bright little neighbourhood beacon with a curving façade in % Arabica in Shanghai. Tuija Seipell

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