Wick Architecture elevates California coffee shop with modern adaptation of Renaissance design

Wick Architecture & Design and LAND Design Studio have elevated the modern coffee shop experience with 3D design. Photo courtesy Benny Chan
Wick Architecture & Design and LAND Design Studio have elevated the modern coffee shop experience with 3D design.
Photo courtesy Benny Chan

Wick Architecture & Design, in partnership with LAND Design Studio, have unveiled the ambiance of Stereoscope, a coffee shop in Newport Beach, California, that is turning heads with its cathedral-like opulence.

The 62-m2 (672-sf) coffee shop is situated on the ground level of a large two-building office complex sharing a common courtyard.

“We were approached to assist Stereoscope Coffee in creating a ground-floor amenity that would not only provide a service, but which would also generate excitement,” explains David Wick, principal of Wick Architecture & Design. “The client wanted something that had never been done before, and we believe that we have given them exactly that.”

The design team was tasked with infusing excitement into a narrow, L-shaped space with a 5-m (15-ft) ceiling. The space connects to entrances at both ends of the L, including one adjacent to the building’s lobby, and another connecting to the exterior courtyard. The layout, together with Stereoscope Coffee’s taste for modern minimalism, created a unique challenge for Wick and Andrew Lindley, principal of LAND Design Studio.

Wick and Lindley harkened back to a recent trip to Italy, where they had the opportunity to view Correggio’s Assumption of the Virgin, a 16th-century fresco adorning the dome of the Cathedral of Parma. The duo envisioned the possibility of a modern interpretation and adaptation of that historic Renaissance approach, with a multi-dimensional aspect to it that would capture the essence of the word ‘Stereoscope,’ a precursor to modern 3D technology. With a concept in mind, the design team turned its attention to the challenge of bringing the vision to life as a body of work that would dazzle the masses.

“We recalled an artist named Christy Lee Rogers, who is renowned for her unique underwater Renaissance- and Baroque-style photography,” notes Wick. “We approached her with the idea of licensing a piece of her work, The Reunion of Cathryn Carrie and Jean, and then transferring it to 3D.”

Armed with a work of art and a clear vision, Wick and Lindley studied the path to achieving their goal from hundreds of different perspectives.

“After extensive study, at the end of the day we felt that the strongest interpretation would require the use of color on the ceiling,” explains Lindley. “We also chose to gradate the image downward to have it seamlessly fade into the white of the walls.”

The next step in the process was to transfer the art to the ceiling. Working in close collaboration with a Nashville-based printers, Big Visual Group, the design team developed a key for cutting the art into pieces, before printing the pieces onto 1.5-m (5-ft) vinyl rolls with 25-mm (1-in.) overlaps to work with. They also made several adjustments to the collective work’s level of 3D projection, ensuring patrons who opted not to wear 3D glasses would still have an eclectic work of art to view. Once completed, the vinyl rolls were applied to the ceiling like wallpaper during an installation process that took less than a day to complete.

Where the elaborate artwork fades to white, 2 m (8 ft) above the floor, lighting fixtures align to provide a strong, clear line. The lighting bends around the corners of the L to accentuate the space, while also serving to delineate the modern, minimalist décor below.

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