Mother Espresso is a new cafe in the Tea Factory, a former tea warehouse in central Liverpool.
The Tea Factory was converted into offices and homes by Urban Splash in the 1990s. Since then, the nature of office work has changed and workers are no longer bound to their desks.
shedkm were asked to create a space within the existing building where these workers could enjoy their new found freedom, together with residents and the public. Good food and drink were essential ingredients. shedkm started by forming a large opening, connecting a neighbouring space with the impressive, but often empty entrance of The Tea Factory.Galvanised steel grating was used to create a secure but permeable boundary between the spaces, allowing the good smells, sounds and energy of the cafe to permeate the building. The material is sufficiently robust and industrial for use in a former warehouse, but it is much more than that. The spangled, reflective and crystalline surface adds some sparkle to the scheme.
On the other side of this screen, The Tea Factory puts on a show, with an eclectic cast of office workers, residents and visitors coming and going throughout the day.
Within the cafe, the counter takes centre stage. Elevated and illuminated, it draws people from Wood Street, through the space, to the source of good coffee.
Above, galvanised ductwork runs from the facade to the counter, supplying fresh air whilst also leading the eye.
Customers can perch at a small bar beside the counter or descend to the tables and chairs below.
A birch plywood bench stretches around the perimeter of the sunken seating area. In the centre of this space, a generous communal table accommodates groups and individuals alike. The shared furniture makes it easy for customers to get to know each other, but also allows for comfortable solitude.
Images © Felix Mooneeram