The Perfect Blend of Coffee and Literature

Fall in love with FRGMNT Coffee, a destination that seamlessly blends functionality and aesthetics.

By Brandi Koloski

Photography by Chad Holder

Row of Alfred Barstools at cafe.

Discovering a tranquil haven in the heart of Minneapolis, where one can unwind with a steaming cup of coffee and dive into the pages of a captivating book, is often a challenge. That's precisely why the latest addition to Open Book's lineup, a partnership between Christian Dean Architecture and FRGMNT Coffee, breathes new life into the scene. With their expertise, the team at Christian Dean has skillfully crafted a space that seamlessly blends functionality and aesthetics which makes the latest addition to FRGMNT Coffee an unparalleled destination.

Christian Dean: A Small Office with Big Ideas

Christian Dean comprises a close-knit team of six professionals who excel in delivering outstanding designs. The firm focuses on reimagining hospitality spaces, multi-family residences, single-family homes, and offices. Their collaboration with FRGMNT involved crafting a concept that would elevate the customer experience while reflecting the client's brand identity.

FRGMNT and Open Book: A Perfect Match

FRGMNT Coffee has established itself as a renowned high-end coffee company, renowned for its innovative concoctions and intentionally sourced coffee beans from around the world. Amidst the challenging times of the pandemic, FRGMNT courageously unveiled its first location in the vibrant North Loop of Minneapolis. Nestled in the basement of the Nordic Building, this hidden gem quickly garnered a dedicated following, capturing the hearts of coffee enthusiasts far and wide. As the world gradually shifted away from remote work, FRGMNT emerged as a bustling coffee hub, attracting a diverse crowd seeking an exceptional coffee experience. FRGMNT went on to open three additional locations, with their newest addition in the Mill District of Minneapolis.

The Mill District of Minneapolis is home to Open Book, an extraordinary nonprofit organization with a profound focus on literature. With a deep-rooted mission to cultivate a love for books through its independent press, bookstore, and Center for Book Arts, Open Book proved to be the perfect backdrop for FRGMNT's fourth location. The symbiotic partnership between FRGMNT and Open Book brought together two entities driven by a shared passion for artistry and storytelling.

Designing a Purposeful Space

Expanding FRGMNT Coffee into the Open Book space presented a distinctive challenge due to its location in an open lobby flowing with constant foot traffic. Christian Dean set out to design a space that caters to various needs, offering a warm and inviting environment for those seeking a place to work, read, or hold meetings. Additionally, the space needed to seamlessly transition from a cozy cafe during the day to an elegant wine bar in the evenings, perfect for hosting special events.

Christian Dean curated a harmonious design by selecting a cohesive palette of lighter-toned woods and skillfully incorporating them into the space. The architects' expertise led to the integration of built-in counters and architectural elements that complemented the overall aesthetic, resulting in a unified and inviting atmosphere. At the heart of the design, the central counter took on a significant role, featuring a Maple butcher block as its bar top, further enhancing the welcoming ambiance of the area. The use of DTile from the Netherlands on the main tile counter was a notable decision, offering a distinctive look with larger-scale tiles in contrast to the mosaic tiles found in other FRGMNT locations. Despite the challenges of shipping DTile to the US, the effort was well worth it, as it contributed to the unique character of the space, where DTile installations were rare.

Furniture to Unify the Space

In order to tie the overall aesthetic together, the Christian Dean team made thoughtful choices in selecting furniture that complemented the tone of the counter. Among the carefully chosen pieces was the Sadie II Chair, featuring a wooden seat and back combined with a Cement Grey powdercoat frame that elegantly echoed the palette of the central counter.  Alfred Barstool, with its subtly pointed silhouette, and layered upholstery details reminiscent of an open book, added a touch of playful charm.

The Success of the Collaboration

Christian Dean's collaboration with FRGMNT and Grand Rapids Chair resulted in a highly successful project. One notable achievement was the team's integration of built-in elements that related to the furniture groupings, effectively creating boundaries while maintaining an open and inviting atmosphere. This approach ensured that the space didn't feel cluttered or disjointed, enhancing the overall experience for visitors.

The Christian Dean-FRGMNT collaboration for Open Book's coffee shop exemplifies the power of combining design expertise and client vision. By seamlessly integrating architectural elements and carefully selecting furniture, the team created a space that is as functional as it is aesthetically pleasing. Visitors enter the coffee shop and are greeted by an ambiance that encourages relaxation, creativity, and a love for literature. Did you love seeing the Sadie II Chair in a coffee shop setting? Check out Sparrows Coffee and Tea to see Sadie II in light pink!