Neat Nooks

Rejoicing the Breeze

Text by Safeeyah Ayman

When driving on the Mohakhali flyover, one can catch a glimpse of a quaint spot, almost hidden from view by the slanting glass facade of the SKS Tower, called Coal & Coffee. The existence of the establishment is the brainchild of two friends, S M Rifat Menon and Zuhayer Sadat, who have been in business together for the last ten years. They wanted to create a special space for the individuals who might want a good environment to refresh themselves.

The duo have been coming to SKS Tower for a long time to conduct business meetings with various clients. On one particular day, Zuhayer Sadat, who had been cooped up all day, went in search for some fresh air, found an unoccupied terrace. As he stood outside on the terrace feeling the fresh breeze, he was struck with some sudden inspiration. He immediately called his friend to come and share the lovely view and the breeze with him, where he then shared his epiphany with his friend and the two contemplated the possibility that this space unoccupied terrace presented. They came to the conclusion that if this terrace space is properly utilized, it has the possibility of becoming somewhat of an oasis in this concrete jungle. If certain elements are added to this terrace, then people will be attracted and be interested to come to this spot. The main purpose of the initiative was to offer their customers a beautiful space from where they can enjoy a refreshing breeze, feel good and energized.

The total square footage of the establishment is around 1100 square feet, divided into two sections, around 600 square feet terrace and around 500 square feet indoors. The seating arrangement is separated to offer maximum comfort to the customers. The terrace has a little nook where one can sit and enjoy a bit of solitude, and the rest of the terrace has other seating options where one can sit with friends and enjoy the ambiance over a cup of coffee or while eating freshly grilled kebabs from the grilling station located right on the terrace.

Since Coal & Coffee started off with just the terrace space initially, the idea was to create an ambiance where anyone who visited the establishment, would feel good and refreshed. The lightings play an important role in creating such an ambiance. The idea behind using lighting and the addition of greenery to soften the harsh concrete and glass structure was inspired from the owners’ trip to Bali. The concept was to imitate an outdoor café with whimsical lights and lush greenery. The space already hosted a terrace, a wonderful view of the Mohakhali flyover, and the bustling roads below. All it needed was proper lights and some greens to complete the picture of a vibrant outdoor roadside café.

The terrace was the original section of Coal & Coffee which was designed by Interior Design Architects Md. Samiur Rahman Bhuiyan and Mr. Abdul Kadir, who managed to complete the reconstruction within a very tight schedule, having to resize and retrofit the already erected metal shed. The outdoor section is catered towards the more casual customer. One can sit outside with friends and take full advantage of the view and the fresh air, whereas the indoor section is catered more towards customers with families who would require more comfort and ease.

The interior of the indoor section of the establishment was done in a fusion style, a mix of a pub style and a coffee shop style. The indoors section is laid out in comfortable, well cushioned chairs and rectangular padded short backless stools that offer comfort without overpowering the small space. Since the main attraction of the establishment is the terrace, finalizing the furniture for the seating arrangement required a lot of careful planning and appropriate materials. Having an open terrace means that the furniture is subjected to direct sunlight, rain water and dust from the roads being so close by, therefore the furniture needed to be waterproof and weather resistant. The owners’ used as much as natural materials as possible while keeping in line with the requirements set by the location itself. The duo is proud to inform that all their pieces are locally produced and customized to fit expectations.

The live grilling station starts cooking the delicious menu everyday around evening. The menu consists of various grilled kebabs, grilled fish and other grilled items that keep the people coming back for more. Their kebabs are their specialty, a vibrantly flavored marinated meat which is then cooked over an open flame. Surprisingly, the coals that are used to grill the kebabs on are source of the inspiration from which the team chose to name their establishment Coal & Coffee.  

Coal & Coffee is a charming space, nestled in the nook of a concrete giant that stands out because it offers their customers a beautiful spot to refresh themselves while they enjoy their food and the view that comes with it.

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