Puddle completes concrete coffee shop at Hong Kong’s Star Ferry terminal

Japanese studio Puddle has designed a coffee shop inside a ferry terminal building in Hong Kong’s Kowloon area, with white, concrete and light wood surfaces to match the existing structure.


The tiny cafe, % Arabica, measures 17 square metres and is located on the top level of the Star Ferry Terminal Building on the Kowloon side of Hong Kong’s Victoria Harbour.

Designed by Tokyo-based Puddle, the cafe is notable in its clean minimalist interior, which intended to work around the site’s existing materiality.

Arabica Star Ferry

The entrance is defined by a glowing % logo glows, placed across a white built-in unit that conceals the cafe’s roller shutter front facade.

Inside is a modest, square room with hardly anything on its floors, except for a counter that houses all of the cafe’s workings. From here, employees greet customers, processes payments and prepare the coffee.

Arabica Star Ferry

The cabinet is wrapped in pale green tiles with a white countertop, and positioned in front of a windowed wall that has another large % logo across it.

“The % logo is a pared-down symbol of perfectly formed coffee cherries on a branch,” said a project description.

A white espresso machine has the Arabica text across its front, with hundreds of coffee cups that bear the % logo placed on top.

Arabica Star Ferry

Branding is a key element to Puddle’s design of the coffee shop. Small graphic touches can also be seen on the floor, across custom-made umbrellas, and on other branded products.

A rear wall is covered in concrete to match the floors, which seamlessly blend in with the rest of the building. Arranged across the wall are numerous glass shelves with wooden supports, which symmetrically display coffee bags.

Aside from the glass facade and roller front, the only other wall in the cafe is covered in light wood boards, with a matching built-in bench below. This introduction of a natural material helps to soften the project’s industrial character.

Outside is a place for drinking coffee, which Puddle added to the public walkway in the terminus. Here, white high-post tables with round tops are positioned in front of a wall of windows with green panes.

Arabica Star Ferry

“As space inside the cafe is limited, customers can order their favourite coffee drinks and relax outside the café where white bar tables are arranged neatly along the expansive east-facing windows,” said the project description.

The % Arabica Star Ferry shop is located on the top floor of the Star Ferry terminal building, right before the departures and arrivals ramp that leads down to the docks.

Arabica Star Ferry

Star Ferry boats carry passengers across the harbour to the Central area of Hong Kong Island, and have done so since 1888. Many of the vessels were built in the early 1900s and feature prominent green-and-white colouring.

“The Star Ferry ride across the picturesque Victoria Harbour is the quintessential Hong Kong experience beloved by residents and visitors alike,” said the description.

Arabica Star Ferry

The building on the Kowloon side is located in the Tsim Sha Tsui neighbourhood, and is built across two piers to form a U-like structure with a flat roof. The two-storey terminal is painted white inside and out, with green at its base to match the ferry boats.

Other recently completed projects in Kowloon include the Eaton hotel by AvroKO and West Kowloon Station by Andrew Bromberg at Aedas.

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