Floor area:
Akin café sits in the foyer of a QB Studios co-working space in downtown Ōtautahi, Christchurch. Having worked with the clients on a previous hospitality project, the brief was left open to interpretation: A casual, welcoming cafe that contrasted the building's 'industrial chic' interior, catering to weekday workers and weekend brunchers.

The design counters the raw nature of the building's exposed concrete, black steel and vast glazing with warmth and tactility. An offset central counter clad in textured Japanese ceramic tiles and American Red Oak sets Akin up for a seamless guest experience, channelling visitors in through multiple entry points past stocked pastry cabinets to the counter and on to the coffee machine. Two large shared central tables are flanked by smaller seating areas, which cater to more intimate meetings and meet-ups, and oversized Hotaru rice paper pendants drop from the double-height ceiling to create intimacy in the expansive space.
Photography by Sam Hartnett

"An exercise in offering more with less, both in terms of space and budget, the simplicity of this response belies its thoughtful design. A popular cafe where patrons are happily and tightly packed in to create the vibrant atmosphere many operators can only dream of." — NZIA Jury Citation