A contemporary coffee shop with a spiritual atmosphere

The coffee industry in Saudi Arabia is grounded into the roots of the local culture; it can be traced back to the early formation of the kingdom.

Azaz Architects brings a traditional twist to the newly opened Deco Temple coffee shop by the famous Elixir Bunn coffee roasters in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, to provide a spiritual-like experience for coffee lovers.

The interior design is an authentic ensemble of traditional Saudi Arabian materials, colours and textures that are customary in local architecture. To add a modern edge to the Deco Temple, the architects subtly used contemporary techniques to harmonise the modern and traditional design elements. 

Deco Temple - coffee bar
Deco Temple coffee shop by Azaz Architects

The minds behind Deco Temple – Azaz Architects 

Based in Riyadh, Azaz Architects are a multi-award-winning boutique architecture and design practice founded by Shahad Alazzaz. Their designs sophisticatedly intertwine modern architecture and traditional Saudi Arabian crafts, styles and techniques. 

The practice won both the Best Architecture Single Residence Award for their Sono Villa, and best Mixed-Use Architecture for their Gulf Address project, in the Arabian Property Awards 2019.

Deco Temple - interior
Deco Temple coffee shop by Azaz Architects

Materials & Techniques – Mud-finished walls and Terrazzo flooring

In the centre of the Deco Temple a structural column proposed a challenge for Azaz Architects to overcome. Instead of allowing this column to become an obstacle, the designers embraced it and transformed it into the core of the interior design. Now the column brews several newly constructed arched mud-finished walls that exaggerate the height of this space and build on the temple-like atmosphere.

The new Elixir Bunn coffee shop has become an inspiration among the coffee industry as it offers an elegant nod to traditional Islamic buildings with large arches and interior finishes.

These famous coffee roasters are a proud Saudi Arabian brand and this new home definitely reflects that, but also adds a modern edge with a large helical staircase and terrazzo flooring. 

Deco Temple - use of materials
Juxtaposition of Mud and Terrazo finishes

Style & Aesthetics – A traditional domed temple

The Deco Temple uses a soft colour palette that highlights the sacred space that the architects wanted to create. The dome-like interior design is a comforting embrace that encourages coffee lovers to relax and honour the famous Elixir Bunn coffee.

To the façade of the coffee shop large panes of frameless structural glass were installed to improve the influx of natural light within the space. Using frameless glass in this manner allows the architects to ensure the interior design in uninterrupted and can be viewed externally as well as internally.

Deco Temple - coffee bar
Deco Temple coffee shop by Azaz Architects

The glass façade frames the authenticity of the interior design

Although frameless structural glass is a highly contemporary product, its minimalistic aesthetic works beautifully in projects that are looking to achieve a traditional design using authentic materials.

The structural glass offers no visual obstruction to the surrounding architecture and can be used internally or externally as facades, windows or glass balustrades. 

Deco Temple - exterior view
Deco Temple coffee shop by Azaz Architects

Design memento – Worshiping the Saudi Arabian coffee culture

Coffee is more than just a hot beverage in Saudi Arabia, it’s deeply rooted in the culture and brings people together. To celebrate this sense of communion, the architects designed the coffee shop in the shape and style of a temple, hence the name Deco Temple.

Deco Temple - side view of coffee bar
Deco Temple coffee shop by Azaz Architects

The writer’s comment – A sophisticated yet cosy atmosphere 

What struck me the most about this project is how authentically the architects created a temple-like atmosphere within the building. They showcased its beauty by filling the façade with a large structural glass pane that acted as a “window into the temple”. This roadside display presents the majestic interior design in a warm and inviting manner.


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