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News > Context Summer 2024 > Design Profile: Blue Bottle Wolf Point

Design Profile: Blue Bottle Wolf Point

Bohlin Cywinski Jackson
Photos: Daniel Lee/Bohlin Cywinski Jackson
Photos: Daniel Lee/Bohlin Cywinski Jackson

Blue Bottle Coffee’s café at Wolf Point is situated within a new residential tower overlooking the Chicago River. A series of full-height channel glass partitions within the 3,600 square-foot cafe create the intimate spaces the brand is known for, with a center bay that showcases the art of coffee making, and three light-filled lounges along the perimeter.  

Wolf Point was an opportunity for the clients to provide a new amenity for the neighborhood and its increasing residential development. But the scale of the space — roughly one and a half times the size of Blue Bottle’s next largest U.S. café — represented a significant challenge. To avoid feeling out of scale while maintaining an open floor plan, the firm designed floating channel glass partitions extending 17 feet high, creating a center bay and three perimeter lounges, while allowing natural light to filter throughout. These walls, and a series of custom millwork pieces, create comfortable nooks for seating and display.  

Another challenge was accommodating Blue Bottle’s pilot programs of social outreach. Custom millwork houses exhibition areas, while a small lounge provides flexibility for private tastings and hands-on instruction, with a full coffee and espresso bar concealed behind bifold pocketing panels. In the north lounge, a custom credenza hosts revolving exhibitions and AV educational programs or can be converted into a point-of-sale station for local vendors.  

The cafe’s honest and elegant material palette is anchored by the green channel glass walls. The material was specified with an iron content that celebrated its green hue, and a hazy, sandblasted finish that transforms with changing light throughout the day. The service counter is faced in a matching back-painted glass, with a stainless top. European beech millwork creates a warm contrast to the green glass and is detailed to feel unified throughout.  

Project: Blue Bottle Wolfe Point 

Location: Chicago, ILL    

Client: Blue Bottle Coffee  

Project Size: 3,600 square feet 

Project Team:  
Bohlin Cywinski Jackson (Architect)  

DXU (Collaborating Firm) 

Silman  (Structural Engineer)  

AMA Consulting Engineers (Electrical/Mechanical Engineer) 

41 North (General Contractor) 

Photos: Daniel Lee/Bohlin Cywinski Jackson 

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