We wrap up our interview with members of the Go Get Em Tiger team about how they handle design and workflow for baristas.
BY VALORIE CLARK
SPECIAL TO BARISTA MAGAZINE ONLINE
Cover photo by the Brunchographers
Last week we began our discussion with the architect and co-owner of Go Get Em Tiger in Los Angeles, a specialty-coffee business that has expanded in recent years. Today, we finish our interview with Joe Wedding and Kyle Glanville by chatting about Joe’s design inspirations and future plans for the company.
Valorie: Do you have a favorite design element from either store you designed completely in-house?
Joe Wedding: I think for me one of the things that we’ve been playing with was looking at the bar space as an opportunity to have something that is comfortable and stands out more. It is the point of service so it’s the most important part. That bar space, as you’re walking in, the design can be an after-thought, but it’s really an opportunity to have something that’s unique and a nice expression of the store. I think both of those stores do something that different and kind of cool. I like that approach and I think we’ll keep pushing that. We have cool ideas for future stores that I hope we can pull off.
Kyle Glanville: In the ROW I really like the way that the kitchen lays out behind the service bar. It’s super efficient, but also I love the exposure of the work. The customer is easily seeing what’s happening back there, which I think is good. We want people, when they’re in our cafés, to feel like they’re in the kitchen rather than in the dining room. Also, I think the pink espresso machine is really cool!
Valorie: Which architects or designers are you inspired by?
Joe: There are a lot of people that have inspired me along my way. I’ve always been inspired by Peter Zumthor’s work, especially his early work is really great. I think he’s a great architect that plays with texture and really durable materials and finishes. It has to do with how you interact and move through a space. You feel the finishes, you feel how the light moves through. He brings these great architectural projects down to a very humanistic scale, which I think a lot of architects who do bigger works are not great at doing, so I appreciate him for that.
And then, another architect I really love is Luis Barragán. He’s a great Mexican architect. His use of color and light is incredible, and so I looked to him when we were trying to push color more and more (in Go Get Em Tiger) cafés.
Valorie: Are future L.A. cafés going to be designed completely in-house as well?
Joe and Kyle: Yeah!
Joe: They’re both (Culver City and Music Center) nearly completely designed and opening this year. The Culver City project is a much bigger project; I think it will be our biggest store. The kitchen there won’t be as exposed as it is at the ROW, but it will hopefully feel similar and as accessible. It has a similar shape in general to the ROW, in terms of the customer interaction space. The Music Center project was not designed in-house but the construction is done, the permitting is done, and it will be opening very soon. (Editor note: The location is now open.)
Joe: That project is pretty interesting. All the buildings and spaces are really open; the pavilion is open to all. It’s really nice—one side faces City Hall, the other side faces the L.A. Water and Power Building, two great iconic L.A. buildings. The coffee shop is essentially outdoors in a way, more so than Grand Central Market.
Does having an in-house design team mean you’re planning to expand beyond L.A.?
Kyle: I mean, our plan is to continue to focus on L.A. and the greater L.A. area for awhile. I think (Go Get Em Tiger co-owner) Charles (Babinski) and I love L.A.; we created Go Get Em Tiger to become a hometown coffee company. There are over 10 million people in the greater L.A. area—there’s the entire Valley, there’s Orange County to the south … I think we feel like there’s a lot of room to continue to grow and explore. We’ve kind of bunched up our cafés, so it’ll be nice to finally get something out in Culver City and hopefully more on the Westside. We have truly no plans, at least for the next two years, to look outside of the city unless something crazy happens.
Joe: Being in-house has been great so far, for me, because it’s much different than working in a design office. It’s nice to be around the people who are using the space. I think it’s creating more successful projects and hopefully makes me more efficient on how quickly we can build them. We can be better all around with the design and the execution. I think it’s the right approach.
Go Get Em Tiger’s Music Center Plaza location is now open at 135 N. Grand Avenue in Downtown Los Angeles.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Valorie Clark (@TheValorieClark) is a freelance writer with a background in specialty coffee. She is based in Los Angeles.