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The Coffee Shop in Union Station Reimagining Your Morning Ritual


% Arabica’s latest Toronto outpost delves deep into the sensorial potential of coffee with the help of Tacklebox Architecture

In the heart of Toronto’s Union Station, where the foot traffic mirrors the kinetic thump of the city, a tranquil coffee joint emphasizes rest in contrast. Specialty coffee chain % Arabica, which launched its first Toronto outpost at Yorkdale Shopping Centre last winter, aims to create an atmosphere to sit, sip and reflect.

Coffee Shop design

In the ever-transforming Union Station, % Arabica stands out for its minimalistic yet high-contrast design courtesy of Tacklebox Architecture.

Drawing inspiration from its Kyoto roots, % Arabica blends the vigor of Toronto’s cummuter centre with a serene ethos inspired by Japan. The result is a spatial design and experience that reimagines coffee culture within a cosmopolitan setting.

coffee shop

Contrast to the fast-pace of our morning routines, % Arabica’s airy outpost is designed as a space to slow down, even if only for a moment.

New York-based design studio Tacklebox Architecture, led by Jeremy Barbour, conceived of the calming atmosphere. “Coffee brings people together and that shared experience is a great catalyst for storytelling and narrative discovery,” says Barbour.

% Arabica wall design detail

% Arabica’s monolithic, floor-to-ceiling wall terrain transports visitors to a bygone epoch that is both intense and inviting in its visual contrast. Barbour notes that this surface is “172 faceted blocks that have been meticulously carved from 3,452 layers of stacked gypsum wallboard.”

The geometric surface is then punctured at 24 intervals with powder-coated steel niches that house merchandise, while a continuous white Corian surface folds and carves the space to form the front and back service counters. With a glazed exterior, the coffee shop entices passersby with its distinguished sense of place and a passion that transcends borders in an effort to bring people together – reflecting % Arabica founder Kenneth Shoji’s philosophy of love for coffee, design and the world around us. ARABICA.COFFEE



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