Urban chic design with a local twist for Sandton coffee café: Aura Coffee Excellence Interior by C+B Architects

Opened in July 2017, Aura Cafe was developed in tandem with the Signature Lux Hotels Sandton branch. C+B’s brief was to create a bespoke coffee brand to service the Signature Lux hotel – providing breakfasts and room service – but also hold its own as a standalone brand bringing in foot traffic from the street. The interior had to be inviting, cosy but contemporary, durable, and memorable. As always, our client was looking for the best result on a limited budget.

In designing the Aura Café interior, C+B sought to reflect the modern offering of the hotel and blend it with a warm, inviting interior inspired by the latest design seen in the similar cafés overseas. We love to travel and make a point of observing the ways in which design is expressed across different locations for different cultures. We drew our inspiration for this interior from the modern functionality of the hotel itself, the efficiency of pedestrian traffic seen in New York City and the level of elegance and emphasis on coffee as a product and the theatre of the baristas seen in Vienna.

According to Bergh, C+B was involved in the project from the start – planning sketch designs, providing 3D presentations, construction drawing, designing all shop fitting elements, specifying complimentary furniture, applications of the logo, menu boards and finishes. Being involved from the early stages was important due to the cafe’s location in a hotel that was still under construction at the time. Our early involvement gave us the opportunity to influence the designs around this area together with the landlord architect – including how the café would benefit the reception lounge of the hotel and tweaking it aesthetically as we needed to. We also needed to consider the design of the external area and patio and how this would influence the rooms upstairs and had to address the approach in order to create a welcoming facade for both the hotel and the café.

All the shop fitting elements were designed to be easily removed which means that when the space needs to be refurbished again in the future, the elements can easily be taken off while the shell undergoes building work, moved to a new location or absorbed into another store.