The Cocoon Cafe

  • Prize
    Winner in Interior Design - Hospitality: Bar and Restaurant
  • University
    New Jersey Institute of Technology
  • Lead Designer
    Constance Chu
  • Project Link

The Cocoon is a college cafe for design students and faculty inspired by Jan Waterston’s Velo Chair used throughout. The cafe aims to extend the chair’s seamless relationship of user-to-object to user-to-space. Echoing the chair’s continuous form and all-wood construction around the human body, the wooden wall curves into a mezzanine, wrapping around the guest like a cocoon and defining itself as an intimate space of its own. Boundaries between architectural components also become seamless as structure becomes furniture in the mezzanine, gallery, and lower banquette seating. Structure becomes something guests can interact with in dialogue. LED lights accentuate the curves, and slivers between the mezzanine’s folds and the exposed back allow visitors to still perceive the full height and continuous flow of space. A bronze elevator extends to the ceiling as if continuing infinitely. As the chair’s ergonomic design is free to the user’s natural posture, a flexible lounge of modular sofas bends to visitors’ needs. Communal and private seating accommodate different work modes along with a casual gallery space to exhibit student work or local artists—fostering work, play, and wonder.