A cafe is my favourite space and as Ben travels New Zealand, taking us through the doors and into the heart of each of the 20 cafes that make up the careful selection of spaces in Built for Caffeine, he introduces us not only to that place you didn’t know about but also the people behind the concept, and through each page you get the feeling that you’re getting to know some very cool, very inspired Kiwis.
Ben captures the essence of each of the spaces beautifully, telling and showing us why, so often, our most loved cafes feel like an extension of home. With each cafe, you see and read of possibility and how a little imagination goes a very long way to making something stand out as special. Ben lends you his imagination too and his excitement is infectious, encouraging you to take it one step further and think beyond your design safe place. It becomes an easy thing to envisage how you can bring the essence of these spaces into your own.
He also has, it turns out, a bit of a naughty sense of humour that sneaks onto the pages every now and again, just to check you’ve had as much caffeine as he has, and you’re still awake.
It’s an excellent feeling to pick up a book you’ve been looking forward to, and finding it even better than you’d hoped. One of my favourite things about Built for Caffeine is how you feel like you’ve been introduced to each cafe, drawn into each space, by a good mate in the know. It’s as though you’re there, sharing a coffee with Ben, and he’s right at your shoulder pointing here and there at the details, convincing you that the thing your hallway needs is a giant painting of a cartoon man in a bunny mask riding a banana (it really does. Really).
It’s a book that will live on my coffee table for a long while because I love to pick it up, especially over a coffee, and go through its pages, or see what variations of an idea it’s sparked, are scattered amongst its pages. And I do have ideas. Far too many ideas, and a list of favourite spaces that I need to see in the flesh.