Excerpt: French Kiisch III is a cafe designed by Touch Architects that draws inspiration from the idea of “Kitsch,” a style of art that celebrates flaws in design and construction. The French cathedral is used as the main design model, where rhythmic arches are created. Imperfect arches of various scales are utilised as an analogy of croissant’s sections cuts rather than symmetrical arches.
[Text as submitted by architect] The main design concept of French Kitsch is developed by interpreting its names: ‘French’ and ‘Kitsch’. Apart from being a specialised French patisserie, the owner’s love for the French bulldog also serves as the cafe’s brand identity, portraying a playful yet elegant image. The design aims to enhance this image together with the concept of ‘Kitsch’, a form of art that appreciates imperfection through architectural elements and materials.
The French cathedral is taken as a primary reference for the design, where rhythmic arches are developed. Instead of symmetrical arches, imperfect arches of different scales are used as an analogy of croissant’s sectional cuts.
The design started with a perfect rectangular mass, which is made imperfect by carving out imperfect arches on the first level and inverting imperfect arches on the second level, so as to attract people from the street corner while acting as a shading device. On the first floor, these arches embrace visitors with their antique yet modern looks, creating shadow along the path, and when light passes through the arched window, it creates a reflection on the floor, similar to that of cathedral glass.
These reflection patterns are created by changing the floor material to portray a permanent reflection without lights. The oversized, imperfect arch also creates a continuous space from the counter to the second floor, highlighting the full-function counter and allowing it to be seen from both floors. On the second floor, voids are carved into inverted curves, allowing sunlight to enter.
By using textured concrete, it strengthens the concept of perfection in imperfection, where the wall is not completely smooth, but it reflects the authenticity of the material, which can be beautiful by itself, in which the texture line from board-form concrete is also portrayed as a croissant stripe. Moreover, by using concrete as the main material, the furniture, decorations, and pink sculptures are made outstanding, emphasising the brand’s colour identity and creating a strong, memorable image of the cafe.