For its intended expansion of this premier brand Italian style café, Seattle Coffee Company wanted a prototype which was elegant and appeared a “one-off” while at the same time able to be replicated many times very economically. The premise for the Torrefazione Italia prototype was an Italian café accommodating the needs of the contemporary American coffee connoisseur. The precise Italian caffé type is vague but has three common inevitable elements: urbaneness-always sophisticated and highly polished, the strong presence of the bar in the café, and the relationship between the kinetic bar and the slower paced seating recall the nineteenth century European coffee house.
Artisans featured in the bar highlight the personal relationship Torrefazione Italia establishes with each of its clients. The work can be seen in the hand blown glass shades from Murano Venice, the hand painted tiles from Deruta and the fused glass by Douglas Hansen and Associates of Seattle. The architecture of the bar and back bar with inclined mirrors and rolling menu boards in front of display shelving are among the elements contributing to the reinterpretation of the Italian café type. In all it was a successful cross pollination of international and local cultures.
Shortly after the opening of the store Starbucks bought the brand and then killed the cafe concept. The subsequent lessee, also a cafe, has maintained the design and decor, switching out only the logo.
Seattle Coffee Company