This month’s Eye Candy is the Foster Coffee Co. shop, 196 Albert Ave. in downtown East Lansing. The coffee shop has an urban industrial vibe. The prevalent use of concrete (on the floors, window wall and support post) as well as the exposed pipes and ductwork reflect the utilitarian aesthetic that characterize this style. It feels pared down — raw even — yet also cozy, thanks to the mix of polished surfaces.
These include the marble waterfall counter, the interior wall and the seating, which is a mix of café chairs and a large caramel-colored leather banquette, or bench, along the wall. Furthermore, this mix seems to support the stated mission of the company: “Fostering community through coffee.”
Modern business relationships are based on transparency and authenticity; by leaving uncovered the literal foundations of the space, it is as if the designer was reminding the viewer of that idea. The oversized windows that open to the street add to both the urban industrial feeling and reflect that idea of reaching out to the community the business serves. On a practical level, the large windows flood the place with light. That light, as well as the height of the ceilings, create an airy feeling to counter the heaviness and solidity of the concrete elements. Overall, it’s a nice place for a cup of joe.