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Fish Tank Café

The ‘Fish Tank Café’ in the heart of Nanjng’s Qinhuai District had been running for a number of years before we were asked to overhaul the design. The clients were interested in creating something that evoked the complex systems of tubes and pipes used in artisan coffee brewing but also to preserve the already established ‘fish tank’ theme, albeit in a more subtle way. The serving counter was hidden away at the back of the store, the shop was cluttered, lacking storage space and the connection to the outdoor terrace wasn’t ideal so these were the things we felt our design needed to address.


The store’s final design is dominated by square tubes which snake their way around the small space articulating shelving and storage, concealing cables and supporting lighting. Custom zigzagging blue tiles surround the generously proportioned counter, which allows plenty of space for the customers to watch their coffee being made, sit and chat with their friends or the barista or to browse the things being sold at the counter. At the back of the store, accordion doors open wide to a secluded terrace space in the heart of a modern, more boutique retail take on the courtyards and alleys of a traditional Chinese ‘Shikumen’ lane.








Zhongshan South Road, Nanjing

75 m²

Concept design to Construction


Completed 2014

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