Situated in Hong Kong’s Sai Ying Pun neighborhood, known for its close proximity to the University of Hong Kong and vibrant mix of locals and foreigners, Today is Long coffee shop brings the colors of Australia to the facade of an old apartment building. Designed by architecture firms Studio Etain Ho and Absence From Island for a group of individuals that studied and worked in Australia, the country’s golden coast now illuminates the Hong Kong street.
“There is another coffee shop just down the road, but the area could most certainly absorb another shop, given its vibrance and rising status,” says Etain Ho, founder of Studio Etain Ho. “We wanted to offer something different—something more bright and airy. The client wanted the cafe to be a social hub for the neighborhood where they have been living for quite some time, hence the development of large windows which express openness, as well as the centrally focused seating are for the cafe.”
Large windows, various plantings, and a great deal of white color bring nature to the space while creating a bright, airy, and comfortable environment to customers. Warm red-orange became the theme color of the shop, inspired by the sandstone monolith—Uluru in the Red Center of Northern Australia, allowing Today is Long to stand out proudly among the surrounding old buildings.
“A thin bar table has also been designed on the facade for customers, especially dog-owners, to enjoy their coffee outdoors,” says Ho. “The client insisted that there had to be six pots of plants at the entrance facade for Feng shui reasons. With the door and the take-away counter that we had to provide, we struggled to find space for the plants, hence we decided to put them on the roof under the arch, where they fit nicely into the narrative.”
Apart from the facade, the notion of sunlight was carried indoors as well. A full circle on one wall forms the backdrop for the seating area while overhead storage for plantings create a lush, natural environment. Coffee grain used by the cafe will also be used for fertilizer for the plants.