Last fall, the GBH studio grew out of its former home, and replanted on W. Fulton Street, surrounded by a host of coffee roasters, brewers, and artisans like Stock Mfg. One of our oldest friends on the street is Metric Coffee, run by Dark Arandjelovic and Xavier Alexander, who have been an integral part of our Uppers & Downers festival for years. Now, they were just outside our front door.
That made all the difference in the world.
Metric’s team tends to think bigger than themselves—they’re community members, small business people, culture-makers as much as they are coffee roasters. “Made by Humans” is a line you’ll hear in their cafe. It’s a way for them to take the high bar set by specialty coffee, and raise it up according to a different metric of success.
The La Marzocco Residence was a chance for them to show off their coffee, but also their network of friends and collaborators. So we helped bring the stories of their neighborhood along with them. “Talking to Jess and the team,” says Michael Kiser, GBH’s Creative Director, “we felt it was a chance to show Seattle what it means to be Metric, and what Metric means to their neighbors along Fulton Street. La Marzocco’s cafe has these large panels hanging over the counters, and it’s a space that hosts a radio station, a record store, and serves as a working and meet-up space for the Queen Anne neighborhood of Seattle. We felt like we could create a wormhole of sorts, and connect these two neighborhoods and communities through the experience, art, and content of the residency, all supporting their exceptional coffee experience”
For the design team, that concept felt true-to-experience. “Metric Coffee is a unifying force, the crux of the neighborhood”, says Cooper Foszcz who led the design and illustration of the project. “All of us in the office walk down to Metric on the daily to fuel up and get a mental break. They’re our people.”
The taken-for-granted, everyday-affairs along Fulton Street were the most fun, and fitting, to highlight. The forklifts, the pigeons, even GBH’s studio dog Matilda who sort of has her own following. “We took snippets of daily life we see on the street and put a twist on them to give them character and narrative,” says Foszcz. “And then we connected that story across the cafe panels, cups, we made a zine about Metric and the businesses here who contributed to the project, t-shirts—a host of little things that brought it to life for the customers in Seattle.”
“It was a fast-paced execution on a holistic concept, made possible by GBH’s ability to quickly connect with, and elaborate on a client’s unique worldview,” says Kiser. “We work this way, basically, because it’s how we prefer to be as people and a team. Get into the mix with our clients, see it through their eyes, and then bring it to life.”
Recreating a cafe and coffee drinking experience on the other side of a continent is no small task. Jess and Harris, Metric’s leads for the residency experience, spent days dialing in coffees, arranging the customer experience and rebuilding the bar layout for La Marzocco baristas who reinvent themselves each month in service of others’ brands, which is one of the most generous things I’ve ever seen in the hospitality industry.
“Much like language, the world coffee takes on different expressions through styles and traditions,” Metric’s Jess Salgado says. “It’s a deeply personal ritual. Each individual roaster and cafe has their own interpretation of what coffee means and how it should taste. Our production and quality control team work daily to showcase the intrinsic properties within each remarkable coffee we source. As the residency leads, Harris and I worked with the La Marzocco Cafe Team well into the night, assessing the different ways Seattle’s water impacted our recipes. We measured and adjusted the percentages and parameters of these recipes to share the stories of our radiant coffees with our new-found Seattle community.”
The next day, Xavier and one of their partner farmers, Benjamin Paz, gave a lecture on their process, approach, and philosophy—basically everything that adds up to “made by humans” and how Metric measures itself.
It’s also how they measure GBH.
“Working with Good Beer Hunting on this residency has been one of the most fluent and rewarding brand experiences to-date. Historically, for us, there has been a lot of push and pull when it comes to our brand and fleshing out ideas. But for the residency, our vision was clear; how do we bring Chicago or Fulton Market to seattle? For GBH, it meant to first address who Metric is as a brand and second, how to bring the spirit of our street, our neighbors and patrons in a way that feels refreshing and whimsical. And seeing everything from the menu, zine and cafe installation in living form was for me, one of my proudest moments for our small Chicago brand.
Cooper Foszcz, Illustration and design
Mike Duesenberg, Art Director
Michael Kiser, Creative Director