Location: Toronto, Canada
Project Area: 300 sqft
Project Year: 2019
Photo Credits: Doublespace Photography
The idea that everything surrounding the offering—from presentation to hospitality—is as important as the product has helped shape the concept of Milky’s. The project emerged from a reimagining of the concept of the cafe which has fallen stagnant since the popularization of cafe culture, in order to create a reinvigorated expression of this ubiquitous space. This drive of recombining conventional elements to stimulate new experience begins with the wrapping of the interior with a modular flooring system typically reserved for the highly formal and repetitive patterns derived from traditional inlay decoration. In Milky’s the modular logic of this system is instead used as a framework for disrupting such static patterning, with interlocking pieces of light and dark wood producing a high-contrast tessellation which expands and contracts, shifts and realigns in a series of strata, enveloping the customer in a sort of “caffeinated” space. All other elements within the space become camouflaged within this graphic counterpoint; thin metal shelves run along its lines, equipment is powder-coated white to fall into the background, and the street face opens with glass to the ceiling, casting the interior in vivid light such that the dynamic patterning becomes the predominant focus of the space.
Leveraging this spatial reconception of the coffee shop, the grab and go business model of Milky’s adapts the customary habits of the cafe-goer to the uniquely concentrated experience which it enables. Rather than the dim and muted interiors which characterize the typical cafe, which have adopted many of the behaviours and functions of a public study space, Milky’s reconceives of the neighbourhood coffee shop as a distinctive experience able to define the course of the visitor’s day in a few moments.