30 in 30: #4

Back in March '06 I featured the Juan Valdez Flagship on my weekly page. Ten months later I finally got to see it in person.

Juan Valdez

Given that this is the first of what's to be many Juan Valdez stores throughout America, the architects Hariri and Hariri emblazoned the familiar Valdez logo three stories tall, almost to say, "Watch out Starbucks, here comes Juan!" While this gesture does attract attention from a distance, it also creates an overlap between old and new in a way that negates the dichotomy, in search of a synthesis or link.

Juan Valdez

The architects contend that they tried to link coffee growers in Colombia (Valdez is owned by the National Federation of Coffee Growers of Colombia) with American consumers and found a design inspiration for this linking in coffee's three states.

Juan Valdez

Where the facade represents the link between Colombia and New York, the folded wood wall at the front of the store represents the solid state of coffee, holding the bar and bean store together. The liquid state of coffee is represented by an undulating wall that runs the length of the store, from the entry door to the rear projection screen. A cove light runs the length as well, reinforcing the importance of this wall.

Juan Valdez

The architects say the materials they use are complementary, though I feel that the project could have been helped by a more limited palette. In addition to the teak wood up front and the undulating drywall, there is also channel glass behind the tile bar and an illuminated screen in the back of the store. If the materials outside the undulating wall were simplified, then the importance of the wall would be that much stronger, though here it fades away in presence and in memory.

The building is located East 57th, just east of Lexington. Take the 4,5,6,N,R,W to 59 St/Lexington.

#1 - Church of the Crucifixion
#2 - 40 Mercer Residences
#3 - Dichroic Light Field


  1. Hello John- Very well chosen examples, I commend your effort.

    But please, PLEASE take note: The country Juan Valdez comes from is COLOMBIA, not "Columbia". There is no alternate spelling, no English name translation, nothing. COLOMBIA.

    Keep up the good work.

  2. Thanks, not even. It looks like I did that on the weekly post, too. Both have been fixed. If I do this again, you have permission to ridicule me!

  3. I really want to like it but it is just stupid--it's not done well.

  4. hey the shop looks crazy, i like it :P

    But somehow it lacks something that we're accustomed here in Colombia: The whole store filled with people :P

    So, ¿what do you think about JV coffee?

    Greetings from the south.

  5. The exterior and interior design of this coffee store is very nice. The shape of the building and the use of wood gives the venue an ultra-modern look and feel. Thanks for posting these pictures.


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