GDR Nostalgia Meets Third Wave Coffee Culture


Open, bright and elevated, Five Elephant’s latest Berlin café would blend the functionality of a traditional coffee bar with the aesthetics of a contemporary café.

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021617—1 / Terrazzo Counter

Tasked with designing a new brand space for Five Elephant’s expansion into Berlin’s plush Mitte district, Sunst developed a dazzling new aesthetic for the young coffee brand. Balancing easy elegance with unique material textures, the visual language would turn Five Elephant Coffee and Cake Shop into a beacon for one of Berlin’s most celebrated companies.

Modbar Espresso Group
021617—2 / Interior Details
Brass Elephant

The Space

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Everything in the café was custom built to create an atmosphere of premium excellence, from the geometric vents on the tubular lighting rods to the unique brass brackets and glass cake vitrines.

With the site of the new café located in Berlin's former Soviet zone, Sunst envisaged a classic GDR Milk-bar but with contemporary twists: fixtures and details were repeated throughout the shop and a unique formulated terrazzo – traditionally a flooring material – was used for the counter that extended down the full length of the space.
Without much natural sunlight, the counters were kept as open as possible and an under counter brewing system helped maximize the contact between barista and consumer. The inclusion of stools and standing areas instead of the more traditional table and chairs, suited to the narrow physical space and accentuated the coffee shops’ historic role as a meeting place.
021617—Five Elephant, Berlin Mitte


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All images © Sunst Studio