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Newport Coffee House


Evanston, United States

July 2019


Josh Hutchison



Newport Coffee House - Evanston, LLC


Mike Schwartz Photo


The design process began with a casual conversation between the architect and the owner in a small cafe in Andersonville. Part of the discussion covered the elements required with making exceptional coffee. This inspired the notion of precision in the laboratory setting which helped conceptualize the coffee bar- the focal point of the space. Secondly, the design team wanted to emphasize the Scandinavian heritage of the owners to counterbalance the sterility inherent with the laboratory concept. This was accomplished by referencing Scandinavian design precedent, primarily the tactile nature and treatment of surfaces by Alvar Alto.


The Newport Coffee House is an interior build-out of an existing commercial space in the heart of downtown Evanston.


The lab concept also drove the organization of the equipment and the ash wood light rig which highlights and illuminates the work performed at the coffee bar. Pristine white Slayer espresso machines positioned symmetrically on the coffee bar reinforce the notion of a laboratory for coffee. A painted wood vertical element was introduced to the space at the retail and café potion of the space. The painted wood vertical element was accomplished using tightly spaced full-length Poplar stair nosings. Construction costs were kept in check by repurposing much of the layout left by the previous tenant, a restaurant specializing in beer and grilled cheese sandwiches. The preservation of the existing kitchen allowed Newport Coffee House to expand their service beyond coffee and provide food service specializing in Swedish cuisine.

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