Hollys Coffee by Beyond the Void 15.06.09

words William Wiles

Beyond the Void, a Seoul-based architecture studio, has produced a new look for all 200 branches of Hollys, a Korean chain of coffee shops.

South Korea has more coffee shops per person than the West, but Hollys is the only home-grown chain. The firm was thus keen to accent its local origins in the revamp. The defining feature of the new-look stores is the green "space boxes", in which patrons can sit in the Far Eastern fashion, cross-legged, if they want.

Beyond the boxes, the seating is the conventional Western chairs and armchairs - apart from in the window of some branches, where customers can sit in custom-built swings. "People like to watch others on the street and vice versa it's a good magnet to attract other customers to come in," says Julia Karla, a principal at Beyond the Void. "The second reason we designed the swings was to answer the wish for ‘romantic moments' in Korean society: socialising with the best friend, young couples or even children coming with their mothers."

The rest of the look is kept simple, with distinctive globe lighting and walls decorated with panels of laser-cut grey felt. The new interiors were unveiled at a prototype store in Daejeon in March and have so far been installed in 20 branches, with completion planned for 2012.

Beyond the Void is comprised of Stephan C Exsternbrink and Julia Karla, two German architects who founded their studio in Rotterdam, the Netherlands, in 2004 before relocating to Seoul.


top image A “space box” with overlaid Western and Far Eastern-style seating
top picture CP Group

image Swing seating by the window
picture CP Group

image Overview of the Daejeon interior, with Western seating in foreground and “space box” in background
picture CP Group

image The swings, with cup holders in arm rest
picture CP Group

image Exterior of the Daejeon branch
picture CP Group

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