Coffee Talk: An Inside Look At This Coffee Chain

Hear from Jessica White of Group 4 Design, Inc, and hear about the inspiration for her favorite elements of this gorgeous café.

By GR Chair

Roy Coffee Table with Sherman Chairs.

There are few things we love more than great design and coffee. It just so happens at Southern Grounds, a micro chain located in northern Florida, we get both. Featuring a design that feels modern yet warm, we wanted to get the know the designer behind the project. We chatted with Jessica White of Group 4 Design, Inc, where details the inspiration and her favorite elements of this gorgeous café.

GRCC: Tell me a little about yourself and Group 4 Design, Inc.

I’ve been a designer for the past 15 years. I started my career in Dallas and made the move to Group 4 Design in Jacksonville about three and a half years ago. Group 4 Design is a woman-owned full-service architecture and interiors firm that started during The Great Recession. The owners all came from large design firms and wanted to create a firm that took a fresh, innovative and different approach. We work on a variety of project types including multi-family and senior living communities, hospitality, corporate, and healthcare.

GRCC: What brands, things, movements, industries do you draw inspiration from?

I draw inspiration from lots of sources - graphic design, fashion, nature, textiles, historic design movements. Yellowtrace is one of my favorite design websites. And I promise I’m not pandering, but I do get excited by the new Grand Rapids Chair designs. I’m very inspired by a lot of what Patricia Urquiola does. When starting a project though, I usually look to its surrounding neighborhood and culture, and then go from there. We often engage local artists when possible and attempt to integrate the community and its history into the design of our spaces when possible.

Roy Occasional Table in lounge space.

GRCC: What was the inspiration for the designs at Southern Grounds?

Our intention for Southern Grounds interiors has been to reflect their brand identity - fresh, modern, bright and friendly. For the Avondale shop, we wanted to build upon the warm industrial style we helped develop at their San Marco location and add a little refinement to reflect the Avondale neighborhood and its status as their flagship store. Our goal was to create a welcoming space that reflects Southern Grounds’ desire to be a hub for the community to gather together.

GRCC: What’s your favorite design detail or moment at Southern Grounds and why?

It’s hard to pick just one element. I think what makes it special is the space as a whole because it’s relatively grand in scale for a coffee shop yet still allows for intimate moments. The volume created by the high ceilings, the clean and bright color palette, the cool metal accents and the warmth and glow of the decorative lighting all work together to showcase that “warm industrial” style in an elegant way.

GRCC: Did Covid play a role in the design process?

The project had already been designed and was in permitting by the time COVID came around. Luckily though because of the size of the space, there is plenty of room for people to spread out. The layout of the dining areas were already organized in such a way that different “pockets” or zones were created, which lent itself to social distancing. There’s also a front covered patio for outdoor seating.

If you love coffee and great interior design as much as we do, and you're hungry for more installs to look through, check out this blog.