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Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Guess what this is

Nope, not your local Anthropologie outpost, although that would be a great guess. Try Starbucks. Well, actually the 15th Ave. Coffee & Tea in Seattle. You see Starbucks is embracing a "local" aesthetic, touting its new coffee house concept as "subtler, earthier and conscious of its surroundings."

"[W]hen Starbucks stock began dropping in 2007, the Seattle-based company realized, among other things, that the cookie-cutter approach to store design had fallen out of fashion. Last year, Starbucks announced it would renovate its thousands of company-owned stores, in 52 countries, to be more sustainable and to look, well, less global."

Many of the revamped coffee houses sport new names reflective of their neighborhoods. Small signs on the facades or in the entrances let customers know that although the surroundings may have changed, they are still enjoying the world famous (formerly mermaid be-logoed) brand.

"Roy Street Coffee." Psst...it's really a Starbucks.

So, Dumplings, what do you think? Corporate trickery or a new-found sensitivity?

[The New York Times T Magazine Moment blog]

20 comments:

Linda in AZ * said...

* Hi, Raina~

THANKS for the info ~~ (I've been laid up in the house for several months & I had no idea!)~~~ Vedddddy interesting!!!!!!!!

Anyhoo, while I personally find Seattle's design approach not to MY liking, "that's just MY opinion/taste, I DO find the Roy St. Coffee spot rather comfy & quite welcoming... almost intimate, especially on a cold, wintery day...

AND, I believe it's GOOD THINKNG on THEIR parts! Many of us are "resistant to change", but tend to embrace it if done w/ imagination, flair, warmth, a little fun, etc...

(And BTW, while these changes are neither "shocking" nor a "jolt" to anyone's life, maybe "it's a good thing"... albeit "little"/nothing or just quite trite... right now, with this recession, but at least it's "SOMETHING NEW" to talk about, hmmm?

Enjoy your blog!

Warmly,
Linda in AZ *
bellesmom1234@comcast.net

Think I'm overdue some Starbucks visits here in the Tucson area, just to check it out & see if they'e doing it h ere, too!

Camilla @ Designalogue Blog said...

Pfft- Its still Starbucks.
Yes, Im a coffee snob & make no apology!

Debi said...

I like the less cookie cutter look - nice to not have a cute neighborhood (potentially) marred by the green sign. Probably a smart move on their part.

Jon A said...

The best Starbucks design I ever saw was the one on Congress Street in Portland, Maine. An aspiring young designer had thrown a large steel trash receptacle through its front window. On the other hand, I guess Starbucks keeps the tourists out and the lines short at the places the locals go.

amy @ switz~art said...

I have a love/hate relationship with Starbucks...more so with their products, but that's a whole other story. I love this approach and I definitely think it's corporate trickery...most is in this world. However, I love the local vibe approach, but I think if they would hire cordial baristas, then they'd be all set. Nothing pisses me off more than going into an establishment where the service thinks you're beneath them. Not cool.

Dianne said...

I can feel the warmth!!! love it!

David said...

It's corporate trickery, but it's smart, I'll have to credit them with that.

I don't hate Starbucks, but given a choice I'll take the independent coffee shop. That may just have gotten a bit more difficult to discern.

Leigh said...

i like the new aesthetic, but the idea behind it kind of creeps me out.

Alicia B. Designs said...

after spending about a month starbucks hopping because my internet was dead in my apt, i decided that i would eventually make it my lifes mission to redesign the starbucks. they are cheezy as can be and have no personality at all. much too corporate. THIS I can get on board with! Its much closer to what you imagine a coffee house to be like. I can be a coffee snob too but it's a starbucks! thanks for this, I feel better already!

ticklishfromadistance said...

I don't know. I don't hate Starbucks, either, but I do prefer a local mom and pop place. Some are cheesy, some are great. $2 or more for a cup of black coffee sucks anywhere.

sherri said...

corporate trickery and very smart business move for them. Having less cookie-cutter buildings around is a good thing. I think I like the idea.

erin@designcrisis said...

I can't remember the last time I had a chance to cool my heels at a coffee joint, so I can't really comment on the environs.

I do kinda like Starbucks coffee... ssssshhhhhhh, don't tell.

Alison said...

For some reason, this makes me sort of a little angry...but what do I know? I don't really drink coffee.

ChrisToronto said...

It looks like Central Perk from "Friends"

Jamie said...

I love the idea from a design perspective. I think it would be amazing to have starbucks source furniture from local artisans and resources rather than the familiar cookie cutter look. Also, I frequently notice how the soft seating isn't holding up well in their stores (looking saggy and pilling). Hopefully this more ecclectic look will get rid of their low-grade commercial furniture.
From a marketing perspective, I agree that it is trickery on some level. I don't really mind, maybe that is the addict in me talking though.

lucitebox said...

I was thinking it looked more like Fraiser's coffee house rather than the Friends' set.

It's trickery.It is a great idea, though. Thumbs-up to trying to infuse some style those sadsack interiors. (And the joints are so poorly laid-out that the traffic doesn't seem to ever flow right. (Oh, pish. I hate Starbucks coffee anyway.)

Coffee houses. Why? I always feel like I'd rather be at home than reading or working in a coffee house around a bunch of strangers.

karly / design-crisis.com said...

totally corporate trickery, but I'm with David- it's smart trickery so, whateves. Just like any company, they have to do what it takes to survive. Besides, I don't care if they cover the walls in kitten blood, as long as they're the only place I can get Tazo Chai, I'll still go there.

Hint, local shops: Oregon chai sux, please consider switching brands.

And yes, I know i can buy the tazo concentrate and make it at home (I do!) but starbucks still makes it better somehow.

isn't everyone glad they know all about my drinking habits?

Laura @ EdenRose said...

Where i live there is a starbucks and a smaller chain of coffee shop and i always visit the small chain shop because the coffee is better, the atmosphere is nicer, it's warmer, the cake is better and it's more homely and british (can i say that?)
I think Starbucks have got the right idea and i hope they change their places here.

nkp said...

Hey, don't knock the mermaid. We don't get much excitement out here in the suburbs. When Starbucks opened an outpost within walking distance a couple of years ago, it was a HUGE deal. Sad. But true.

susieq said...

Corporate trickery. Makes me sad for the mom+pop shops out there.