Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Starbucks: More Than Just Coffee

Famous for it's coffee experience, Starbucks Philippines takes a step ahead to give us more than just coffee.

The Starbucks Coffee Company has been known for it's coffee, the coffee experience, and the initiatives they make in giving back to their community. The company is known for valuing their global and social responsibility evident in their concern not only on the end-product, but to the whole process itself such as the ethical sourcing of their coffee, tea and cocoa products by ensuring that the farming of their coffee beans are grown responsibly and sustainably. Another important initiative is their environmental awareness which they incorporate in the design of their stores, with the U.S. Green Building Council's LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) certification program as their guide. 

Starbucks Philippines has aligned with this vision by building the first "green" outlet in the Philippines, which is conveniently located in Fort Bonifacio, Taguig City. At first glance, the "green" design , may not be noticeable to the eye. But as soon as you pay attention to the details and feel a certain lightness upon marveling at that double volume ceiling, you know that there is something different with this store. The entrance doors open up to a wide area, further expansed by the high ceiling that extends to the second floor dining area. A series of tall pendant lights made of rattan and paper hanging from the ceiling give depth to the vertical volume of space. On the ground floor, customers are greeted by a long serving bar, with a counter top made of recycled solid wood slab and the supporting carcass finished in laminated bamboo. Seating is definitely not cramped, with locally sourced furniture pieces made of Philippine wood and indigenous materials. 

Natural light can easily come through because of the tall and wide windows that replaced most of the walls, which is an additional energy efficient feature that the store has, besides using LED (light emitting diode) lights. LED lights is the latest in lighting technology known to reduce electricity consumption as compared to compact fluorescent lamps. The wide cantilevered canopy at the entrance side keeps the heat of the sun from glaring through the glass windows. The wide open space in the ground floor makes ventilation and circulation easy. 

Tucked adjacent to the entrance doors are the stairs that lead up to the second floor dining area. Upon reaching the second floor, you will see a panel of salvaged capiz windows with light streaming from the exterior balcony dining area. The square pattern of the capiz windows was echoed in the design of the railings and in the exterior screen near the drive-thru driveway. The design of the stairs and the railings seem to lack flair and detail but then again, all recent Starbucks stores are designed in a utilitarian way, giving more value to function and practicality. 

In the toilets, motion activated lights and low-flow faucets were used to minimize energy and water consumption. Signs for these features are installed on the walls to make the users aware of the efforts being made by the company in their environmental campaign.

Oh, before I forget to mention, another novelty of this Starbucks store is their drive-thru. It's the first Starbucks drive-thru in the Philippines and based on my experience, service is fast and efficient.

Driveway leading to the drive-thru window

Metal screen at the drive-thru, as inspired by the capiz windows. Ceiling at the exterior areas are in bamboo.
For coffee lovers and Starbucks fans, this store is a must-visit. There's this atmosphere about the place that makes you feel at home and at ease with the surroundings. I've got a feeling that it has a lot to do with how everything was built for this structure - caring for the planet, which really is caring for it's people.

To know more about Starbucks environmental stewardship, you can visit their website at http://www.starbucks.com 

1 comment:

  1. Wow what a great post on Starbucks!
    Check out my new design blog: www.rubenmarquezjr.com/blog