Honolulu’s Waikiki Beach is one of the world’s most famous beaches, known for its golden sand and stunning sunsets. Just a few blocks from the beach is an immersive coffee experience inside the Starbucks store at the Waikiki Trade Center, in the heart of Waikiki’s shopping and entertainment district. The café is the first in Hawaii to feature a Starbucks Reserve coffee bar, highlighting the company’s rare, small-lot Starbucks Reserve coffees.
The theater of coffee is on display from the store’s front windows, drawing customers in from the promenade with a long, low bar and a variety of eye-catching brewing methods, including manual Black Eagle espresso, pour-over, Clover brewing system, Siphon, Chemex and Nitro Cold Brew taps. Senior designer Agnes Mandeville and design director Jon Alpert took inspiration for the design from the Starbucks Reserve Roastery.
“When you enter the space, the first thing you see is the Reserve coffee bar. It’s a stage for the barista just like at the Roastery in Seattle,” Mandeville said.
Behind the bar is a backdrop inspired by Hawaiian flora and geography. The piece features a hand-painted flower that is a composite of a blossoming coffee plant and Hawaiian plumeria; it appears and disappears as customers move through the space. Wooden slats made from a golden ash wood, similar to those at the Roastery’s Experience Bar, are layered over the design to reveal a cutout of the eight islands of Hawaii.
The team kept the design airy and light with finishes and materials drawing from Asian and Western Pacific influences. A custom graphic mural by Hawaiian illustrator and artist Kris Goto adds energy and movement, with rolling ocean waves and landscapes, painted freehand with pen and just a little paint.
The team also found creative ways to bring Hawaii’s lush vegetation indoors. They worked with a landscape architect to incorporate air plants as living components of the design.
“Our customers here are in a different mode here than if they are in New York or Los Angeles,” Mandeville said. “We wanted to keep the design casual and relaxed to reflect Hawaii.”
The Waikiki store is one of more than 20 Starbucks stores with Reserve coffee bars, including locations in New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, Atlanta, Baltimore, Seattle, Washington, D.C. and Boston. Starbucks plans to have 20 percent of its global stores include Reserve coffee bars by 2021.