studio SKLIM's 'voids cafe' in singapore is carved out of a monolithic concrete block

studio SKLIM's 'voids cafe' in singapore is carved out of a monolithic concrete block

studio SKLIM has drawn from the ’empty space in a coffee cup or matcha bowl’ to give form to this micro cafe in singapore. spanning only 28 m², voids cafe features a monolithic central block, which has been carved out and reshaped through a series of subtractions and additions to create the operational and anthropometrical needs of the interior. negative spaces form the cafe and circular geometries are consistently carried throughout the rest of the built form, carving out seating booths, countertops, display shelves and overhanging canopies.

studio SKLIM's 'voids cafe' in singapore is carved out of a monolithic concrete block
front view

all images by khoo guojie / studio sklim



‘in this condensed space, it was essential that we balanced the numerous kitchen inventory with the customer zones, utilizing every nook to add to that experience,’ explains studio SKLIM. within the 28 sqm, the singapore-based studio was able to create several working and customer zones, including: an experience/retail corner, a take-away counter, seating booths, and even a small ‘ritual counter’ for conducting workshops and making drip coffee or bowls of powdered japanese green tea (matcha). void cafe‘s central feature is the concrete counter block, which was visually made to be contiguous with the floor with adjoining gentle curved radii. above it, the overhanging volume was entirely holstered from the ceiling with no supports connecting the bottom countertop mass, giving a surreal lightness to the entire structure. the overhanging volume is rendered in heavily textured stucco as a reference to gritty coffee grounds, creating ‘an anti-gravity coffee cloud’. studio SKLIM 'voids cafe' in singapore is carved out of a monolithic concrete block
hovering mass above the concrete counter




counter spaces have been carved out of the concrete counter block to create a more intimate customer-barrister interaction, simultaneously bringing them in closer proximity to the coffee making process with aroma and grinding/tapping sounds. circular cut-outs in the concrete counters with matching petal-like tables make for customer seating, while the main powdered pink concrete counter top was custom-casted in 11 separate pieces. at the same time, a minimal surface concrete counter top for takeaways has been formed by using a special fabric formwork. studio SKLIM's 'voids cafe' in singapore is carved out of a monolithic concrete block
seating cut outs for couple and singles



drawing from images of plants growing on old buildings, the architects have purposefully cast cracks in the concrete volume to allow planting to emerge from beneath. the overhanging experience corner was designed as a suspended enclosure where customers can duck under and experience the smell of different coffee grounds and tea products. at the same time, circular metal tables were created to project from the surrounding walls and, similarly, from the concrete seating booths.


‘the resultant aesthetic from subtractions and additions to an initial block, creates a massing that appears fluid with its own fuzzy logic, certainly not based on any premeditated form or symbol of what a cafe should be,’ adds studio SKLIM.

couple seating formed from two merged circles

studio SKLIM's 'voids cafe' in singapore is carved out of a monolithic concrete block
concrete counter with custom pink concrete top appears to merge from ground plane

drip coffee ritual zone and al fresco seating made of tree stumps

studio SKLIM's 'voids cafe' in singapore is carved out of a monolithic concrete block
the coffee experience circle allows users to isolate other senses and smell the different coffee beans and tea leaves available

carved out negatives spaces to accommodate seating and work zones

fabric cast concrete top for take-aways

display counter with hovering coffee experience circleplant detailexterior view

concept diagram

plan showing carved out negative spaces and hovering volumes



project info:



name: voids cafe

architect: studio SKLIM

client: grace espresso

team members: kevin lim, ashwin bafna, svasti agrawal

program: interior refurbishment (f&b)

area: 28 m²

location: singapore


designboom has received this project from our ‘DIY submissions‘ feature, where we welcome our readers to submit their own work for publication. see more project submissions from our readers here.


edited by: sofia lekka angelopoulou | designboom

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