At the intersection of Anfu and Wukang roads in the former French Concession, you’ll find RAC Bar & Coffee. The locale has been long-known for its many Western restaurants and desirably central location - that also means the standards for design in this area are higher. The owners of RAC aimed to stand out with their authentically French vibe, speciality coffee, French pastries, crepes and organic wines. RAC is both a cafe and bar combined. Originally the cafe was a streetside security post at the entrance to the property. The restaurant and bar section sits at the end of the entrance passageway. That separation presented MASS DESIGN with a challenge: How could design create interaction and connection between these two disparate sections? The solution was to treat this outdoor space as a bridge between the two spaces, re-thinking the area as a public area like a park or a courtyard. Operable windows and a marble sill were inserted on the wall facing the courtyard creating an in-between dining table on the facade. Patrons can sit inside the shop, outside in the sun with their coffee or dine across both spaces. The bar was deliberately moved to open a service window facing the courtyard, allowing visitors from the adjacent office building easy access. In doing so, MASS created a space to enjoy in many ways, activating this courtyard and coaxing more visitors to enter RAC.
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