City streets the world over are overflowing with coffee shops, cafes and bistros that cater to people's unquenchable thirst for caffeine and cake. Yet, finding a green cafe is often a little harder, so we wanted to give you a taste of a new place Inhabitat visited in Glasgow, Scotland which is a great example of a sustainable cafe space. The Glad Cafe opened in August and it's brimming with up-cycled green designs. The completed space is a welcoming creative hub that aims to bring together the diverse cultural communities in the Southside of Glasgow through music, art, theatre and coffee!
We were instantly impressed by interior design of The Glad Cafe, which is the result of a collaboration between three Glasgow based designers: Roy Shearer, Gerry Thomson and Simon Harlow. The designers, who share green design principles, worked together with the owner Rachel Smillie in a purposefully ‘slow process’ in order to source suitable materials for re-use from local sources. They incorporated their individual signature designs with found materials that ranged from waste signage to school gymnasium floors and even piano keys. Read on to spot how these were transformed into innovative furniture pieces.
These recycled Piano Key coat hooks were a favorite of ours. Saved from a dying old piano, these keys may no longer hold a note, but they offer a playful way to hold people’s jackets whilst bringing a subtle musical influence into the furnishings.
This set of colorful and quirky shelves were created using waste signage from a print shop located behind the café. The words were cut up in an abstract matter as they were transformed into shelving, creating a playful wall of words – a definite conversation starter.
The banisters were created from a batch of offcuts from a laser cutting job at the local Maklab. This layered collection of waste material seems more like a piece of art than a piece of waste to us.
Recycling starts from the ground-up at The Glad Café – even the floor boards are salvaged from a dance floor and an old school gym floor. The design seamlessly pulls the floor boards up to create the frontage for the main coffee bar, making it easy for customers to glide, dance or jump to the bar to pick up their coffee.
If you are lucky, you might find yourself placing your coffee on one of these stunning coffee tables, which are made by laminating off-cuts, old pieces of wood, plastic and signage. This material was used for a small cube table, a larger bench, a taller side table, and a small table that uses a singer sewing machine as a base.
The second bar pulls together signage and offcuts with backlighting to successfully create a different atmosphere in the performance area.
Whilst ordering at the bar, you may not notice at first – but the shelves are cleverly crafted from scaffolding planks held in place by old glass bottles. This is a great simple design, that fits into the café spirit very well – just as long as no-one tries to use one of the supporting bottles!
This striking and colourful light is one of the first things you see as you enter the cafe. It’s constructed from plastic offcuts and it creates a welcoming glow and great first impression.
The café has a selection of old recycled chairs and tables, which include church seating and school chairs.
The café plans to have seasonal menus and it stocks as much locally-sourced produce as possible – including locally roasted and freshly toasted Dear Green Coffee, produced by a Glasgow-based artisan coffee roaster driven by a commitment to sustainable coffee farms.
The owner and founder Rachel Smillie, who has a background in storytelling and music, chose the cafe name after being inspired by Carson McCullers book The Ballad of the Sad Cafe, but ultimately not wanting to make a sad cafe, she opted for the more optimistic Glad Cafe. She is passionate about ensuring that The Glad Cafe welcomes a diverse customer base with world music and art forms that exist outside the mainstream.
Lead Image & Piano Hooks Image © Patrick Jameson
All Other Images © Inhabitat