Kosmos Kaffee

Location: Munich, Germany
Client: Deutsches Museum München
Pre-selection architecture competition: 2017
Size: 550 m2

In 2017, KOKO arhitektid was one of four successful applicants invited to take part in a competition for design of the the Kosmos Kaffee Exhibition at the Deutsches Museum in Munich – an exhibition aiming to showcase the universe of coffee.

KOKO’s design evolved from many directions, including the sensory experiences associated with coffee – the aroma of smooth swirling steam, the performative art of pouring hot water over ground beans in demonstrative coffee making, and the elliptical form of the humble coffee bean where it all began. The lower levels of the exhibition uses solid forms to provide walls, vitrines and tables. In the upper parts, sheer textiles, specially designed prints and lighting effects give a mysterious and magical ambience. Drawing from the planetary connotations of the name “Kosmos” the elliptical shapes, and varying heights of the concept provide an orbital experience, giving different views on the many spheres of coffee production and consumption.

The sensorial sphere of the exhibition uses textiles to form a dome-roofed installation giving a ‘360-degree cinema for the senses’. The story of a single bean is told, from growing to harvesting, from being sold to arriving for roasting and from grinding to consumption. Visitors can touch, handle and smell coffee beans at various stages of ripeness or take a rest on specially designed ‘coffee bean bags, and the gentle background aroma of coffee in the air completes the immersive experience.

The technology sphere of the exhibition shows different methods and technologies used across the different stages of coffee production from raw bean roasting to preparing coffee. Visitors’ eyes are opened to just how many possibilities there are in only one drink. The main items of this sphere are a roasting machine, interactive single-bean roaster and an elaborate selection of coffee machines.

The remaining spheres of the biology, chemistry, economy, culture and ecology of coffee are covered in curved forms gradually fading into the surfaces of walls in a way reminiscent of the shape of a comet tail streaking through the cosmos. The different themes of each sphere are easily recognised through a characteristic colour corresponding to a different stage of ripeness of the coffee cherry – from green to a dark red.