Text description provided by the architects. Nanxiucun is a bustling and vivacious melting pot for young Nanjing intellectuals with interests in literature, art and design. The popularity of the area can be attributed to its proximity to the renowned Nanjing University, the recent growth of foreign students and increasing status of western and international influences. The creative district is synonymous with self-expression and inclusivity - it is common to hear exchanges of both ‘hellos’ and ‘Ni Haos’.
The camaraderie and vibrant atmosphere extends to the welcoming design of the cafe, which retains its charm being nestled in a 1980s heritage apartment building. In its seamless fusion of both vintage and modern materials and design aesthetics, Pause encapsulates the wisdom of an old city soul while also intermingling with emerging creative cultures. The result is an enchanting hotspot providing ample room for customers old and new to wander in conversations filled with endless ideas and visual dreams.
FANAF’s architects are long-time regular customers of Pause, and also designed the renovated cafe. Drawing from their familiarity of the area, FANAF decided to use contradictory concepts - modern and traditional - to represent the multicultural and multifaceted nature of the district.
The design utilised neutral-coloured bamboo and black steel as the two main materials. Traditional bamboo was mainly used for the horizontal elements, such as the floorboards and surface of the counters and coffee tables, while the black steel transformed the vertical elements such as the walls, display shelves and cabinets. The contrasting themes represent how the heart of the cafe’s foundations has been maintained, while openness to change has pioneered the incorporation of new and different concepts into the space.
Although the overall space is small, the design elements embedded within the cafe provide an air of abundance. The entrance comprises of a grey space, opening up into a terrace designed for relaxation. During the rainy season in Nanjing, many clients like to come to this area to sit and listen to the rain. The main bar space encompasses around four metres; at night many young people enjoy gathering around to socialise.
There are also more private areas with a projector and screen so during the day local business people can come for a cup of coffee and meet their clients. Whether it is at Nanxiucun or Pause, FANAF architects all want to provide an atmosphere to enrich everyone's life.