10,000 walnut veneer ceiling tiles make up world's largest Starbucks
January 10, 2019 | 2:53 pm CST
SHANGHAI - A new Starbucks Reserve Roastery, the second of its kind, has opened in Shanghai, China and is considered the largest Starbucks store in the world…for now.
The ceiling of the store is constructed with waves of 10,000 hand-made tiles made with aluminum sheeting and hand veneered with American walnut. The interlocking shapes are all hexagonal, reflecting and resembling when an espresso "shot" gets locked into an espresso machine.
Each of the four entrances of the 30,000-square-foot store boasts large wooden doors that are designed to recall the entrance to Chinese temples. Sculpted with a roasted coffee bean, the doors are at least a foot thick, and weighing 550 pounds, each are hydraulically-activated.
Referred to as the “New Eames line,” the furniture in the store is said to be uniquely designed. The carved wooden stools are meant to invite customers in and make them feel comfortable. There are also long chaise lounges, benches, coffee tables, and walnut lounge chairs with copper arms wrapped in hand-stitched leather.
The design of the roastery respects the local culture and allowed local craftsmen to be involved in the construction. For instance, spanning both floors of the building is a 40-ton copper cask that is covered in more than 1,000 traditional Chinese seals known as “chops,” which relate the story of Starbucks since 1971. The centerpiece also serves as storage for freshly-roasted coffee beans until they reach maximum flavor.
Long coils of copper piping known as “Symphony Pipes” crisscross the ceiling to carry beans from the copper cask to the bars. The pipes are said to have earned their name from the sound the beans make as they travel through them.
The store includes three wooden coffee bars, one of which measures at 88 feet long, that are handcrafted by premiere Chinese artisans and reference the unique roasting curve of individual coffee beans. Of these three bars, one is a Starbucks Teavana bar made from recycled, 3D-printed materials.
Responsible for the interior design of the store is Liz Muller, senior vice president of creative global design for Starbucks, and Danish design studio OEO. Muller says the design reflects the product in that the store design goes from the green of the fresh beans to the deep dark brown of roasted coffee, features walnut woods that are warm, and uses white lighting to reflect the milk froth. The copper gives an authentic glow to represent the flame of the roaster.
At more than double the size of the first Reserve Roastery in Seattle, customers are given an "exploration guide" on walking in, which doubles as a map. The company says the store is the first Starbucks location to seamlessly integrate a real-time, in-store and online customer experience through augmented reality, which is accessible through the custom-designed Roastery digital web-app platform or on Alibaba’s Taobao app. Customers can point their smartphones at various spots around the store to learn about the coffee-brewing process.
The store is also aiming to achieve a Leadership in Environmental and Energy Design (LEED) Platinum certification, the highest level of LEED certification. Created by the U.S. Green Building Council, LEED certification provides independent verification of a building or neighborhood’s green features, allowing for the design, construction, operations, and maintenance of resource-efficient, high-performing, healthy, cost-effective buildings.
Some of the Roastery’s sustainability practices include real-time air quality monitoring, high-efficiency water-saving appliances that reduce water use by 45 percent, high energy efficient appliances to reduce power usage by 40 percent, Low-VOC materials and Green Label Plus certified vestibule carpets, and green education workshops for employees and customers.
Three other locations are currently under construction in New York, Milan and Tokyo, but expected to become the new largest Starbucks in the world will be the Chicago location. Expected to open in 2019 on Chicago’s Michigan Ave, the store will be 45,000 square feet.

Have something to say? Share your thoughts with us in the comments below.

Profile picture for user angelkipfer
About the author
Angeleen Kipfer

Angel Kipfer is an editorial intern at the Woodworking Network.