Linehouse designs space-themed cafe for Black Star Pastry in Shanghai

Design studio Linehouse combined stainless steel and meteorites to create a space-themed cafe in central Shanghai as Australian chain Black Star Pastry’s first Chinese outpost.

The ground floor of the red-brick villa serves as a coffee and pastry shop for Black Star Pastry, which is famous for selling a Strawberry Watermelon Cake that was dubbed “Australia’s most Instagrammed dessert” by the New York Times.

The cafe is Black Star Pastry’s first in China

Shanghai-based Linehouse designed the space to evoke the feeling of being in space.

“The ground floor stirs up the incredible sensation of being aboard a spaceship,” said the studio.

Meteorites on shelves
Linehouse designed the store to evoke a spaceship

The studio covered the walls of the cafe in stainless steel shelving that holds thousands of meteorites.

The shelving extends across the ceiling to form an arched form that the studio described as “an exploration of gravity vs weightlessness”.

Black Star Pastry by Linehouse
A countertop display contains nine floating cakes

Continuing this theme, a countertop display features nine levitating cakes. Displayed in glass containers the revolving cakes are supported by magnetic levitation.

The phrase “we are all just stardust” can be found lining the edges of the communal tables, creating an effect of each letter dripping off the edge of the table by gravity.

Elsewhere on the ground floor there are retail areas stocked with coffee beans and apparel.

Terrazzo staircase
A terrazzo staircase leads guests upstairs to a dining space

A staircase clad in roughcast concrete terrazzo leads the guests upstairs to an exhibition-style dining space called the Black Star Gallery.

It features artworks by four emerging international artists curated by Black Star Pastry creative director Louis Li to create an imaginary futuristic habitat.

The ceiling is lined in a metal grid. The floor is a rough concrete cast terrazzo tile, giving the space a hint of wildness and creating a museum-like mood for the art.

The gallery can be used as a tearoom in the afternoon and a cocktail lounge by night.

Blackened wood floors by Linehouse
Blackened timber covers the floors of the private room

A private room named There There is separated from the main dining area by a deep blue velvet curtain. It contains an intimate bar wrapped in acid-etched blue metal.

Blackened wood covers the floor of the room in contrast to the exposed concrete of the cafe’s other spaces. A stainless steel curved backdrop holds the wines on display.

Upstairs gallery
The versatile gallery can be used during both day and night

Black Star Pastry was founded in Sydney, Australia in 2008 and is the creator of the Strawberry Watermelon Cake, the world’s most Instagrammed cake according to the New York Times. This is its first store outside of Australia.

Linehouse was named emerging interior designer of the year at the 2021 Dezeen Awards. Recent projects by the studio include the conversion of a Shanghai office block’s swimming pool into an additional workspace and a contemporary dim sum restaurant in Hong Kong.

The photography is by Jonathan Leijonhufvud.

Project credits:

Creative direction and art curation: Louis Li – Black Star Pastry
Design team:
Alex Mok, Cherngyu Chen, Yeling Guo, Rongli Chen, Kaihang Zhou, Leah Lin
Levitating cake display:
March Studio
Branding graphics:
Studio Ongarato/Noritake
Commissioned artists:
Olivia Steele, Naoko Ito, Rowan Corkhill, Debbie Lawson
Artwork production:
Black Star Pastry

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