Intelligentsia Venice - Design Process

Intelligentsia Venice - Design Process
Plan view of design proposal by RAD for Intelligentsia, Venice
Intelligentsia is a well known and loved institution on Abbot Kinney in Venice, and RAD was thrilled at the opportunity to help design and facilitate a much-needed update to their space. After 10 years of serving up espressos, the Intelligentsia team was hoping to improve the coffee house by adding more seating and create a warmer, more inviting space while respecting the existing look and feel. RAD Studio worked closely with the Intelligentsia team of designers and baristas to identify the project goals and design aesthetic.
The existing seating on concrete steps and bar-height stools were well-used, and successfully created a friendly community feel for the coffee house. The primary project goal was to provide more seating, while respecting and improving upon the industrial look and feel. 
A typically busy day on the terrace steps, Dec 2019
The terraced seating area was preserved and a similar seating strategy was proposed for the rest of the space - communal benches with intermittent oval tables that would allow friends to chat and set their coffee down. The oval tables also provide small buffers, which allow strangers to feel comfortable sitting in close proximity.
Dec 2019 rendering of proposed seating arrangement
Outside, the existing tiered wood box seating arrangement was inefficient and in a state of disrepair.
Outside at Intelligentsia Venice, pre renovation
Outside at Intelligentsia Venice, pre-renovation
RAD saw an opportunity to improve the quantity and quality of seats by adding two rows of benches and building a planter along the main entrance route, thereby dividing the seating area from the people queuing up to order.  
Proposed seating area

On the patio, a stepped planter runs the length of the ramp 
The existing material palette consisted of unfinished steel, concrete, and some wood elements.  
Existing material palette of concrete, raw steel, and wood
Existing shelving runs the lengths of two walls, and an industrial material palette of concrete, raw steel, and wood is seen throughout the coffee house.
For the renovation, black locust wood slats were chosen for the benches in order to warm up the existing industrial aesthetic. We removed the unfinished steel bar and merchandising shelving, and proposed a matte black powder coat finish for the new steel benches and new merchandise shelving.
Shelfing unit near entrance of Intelligentsia, Venice by RAD
The new proposed material palette of Black Locust Wood Slats, Matte Black Steel, and White Neolith Stone.
The existing shelving took up two full walls, which was more space than was required to display merchandise. We proposed smaller shelving units that would be visible to customers before the point-of-sale, and also create a buffer between the seating area and the order queue.
Benches with black locust wood slats ring the interior
Benches with black locust wood slats and white neolith tables ring the interior
Stay tuned for photos of the finished space, now open on Abbot Kinney in Venice Beach, California.