1 South Vandeventer
St. Louis, MO 63108
After sitting vacant for years, a developer renovated the historic Gerhart Building adjacent to an St.Louis University, creating apartments on the second floor and retail storefronts on the first. Several businesses quickly took advantage of the prime location, among them Kaldi’s, a well-regarded local coffee chain. Taking two storefronts at the coveted corner on a busy intersection, the Kaldi’s team wanted the design team to translate their branding guide to the historic space, while creating a hip vibe to appeal to the university population. The owners wanted to highlight their “Nitro” coffee on tap, offer a variety of flexible seating types, and have efficient circulation for customers who need to grab and go quickly. All of this had to be done while working closely with a federal and state historic tax credit reviewer to ensure our design would not jeopardize the building owner’s tax credits.
The resulting design is a study of branded colors (charcoal gray and orange), conveyed in wood and encaustic tile. A 30-foot-long banquette wraps the busy corner, providing lounge and cafe seating, all below a dazzling gold fixture, which is visible to pedestrians and car traffic. The “Nitro Bar” is situated along the east facade, and has been designed like a bar, complete with leather barstools and backbar. Bar-height seating is mixed with dining-height chairs, and a community table is tucked towards the back, providing a semi-private area for larger groups. The comfortable space is rounded out with modern gold accents and gold-framed images of St. Louis.
“We were drawn to SPACE because of their extensive experience in designing the area’s top restaurants and their understanding and appreciation of historic preservation,” says Tricia Ferguson, co-owner of Kaldi’s. “We liked that they had done other work similar in scope, but with strong, individual design.”
“They have a very successful, family-owned business, like we do,” notes Josh Ferguson, Tricia’s husband and business partner. “Their offices are in the same neighborhood as our headquarters and coffee roasting plant and they care about how their business impacts and improves the community overall, like we do. We found a lot of synergies between Kaldi’s and SPACE.”