NOC Coffee meets Zen: AS Design’s Tranquil Oasis

Sam Sum Reveals Design Process for NOC Coffee in Hong Kong

Courtesy of NOC Coffee

Award-winning project – NOC Coffee in Hong Kong, envisioned by AS Design founder Sam Sum offers a transformative experience, blending the elements of purification and stimulation through thoughtful design and aesthetic principles. Inspired by the serene landscapes of Japanese Karesansui gardens. 

Sam Sum, the visionary behind AS Design, believes in the fusion of aesthetics and functionality, striving to create designs that are both stylish and practical. With a focus on image renovation for businesses and corporations, the agency aims to elevate brands to global recognition. Their expertise extends to interior design for a diverse array of spaces, including retail, hospitality, commercial, and residential environments. 


Whether sipping on a cup of coffee or engaging in quiet contemplation, guests are invited to embark on a journey of self-discovery and inner peace within this carefully crafted oasis. AS Design’s commitment to excellence ensures that every aspect of the space reflects their dedication to creating transformative environments that inspire, uplift, and nourish the soul.

Courtesy of NOC Coffee
Courtesy of NOC Coffee

In an exclusive interview for ARCHISCENE, Sam Sum shares his thoughts behind the design of NOC Coffee.


How does the design of NOC Coffee aim to create a sense of purification and tranquility amidst the busy city environment?

Located at the entrance to the mall, the space is a metaphor for life’s journey, from entrance to exit. This space is also reminiscent of a coffee filter, providing a pause in the midst of our busy lives, a place to savor a moment of calm and reflection. Creating a concise dining space as minimal as a condensed landscape imitates the essence of nature and the universe through simple lines, shapes and careful composition of natural elements. Relax and enjoy the dining experience in the peaceful nature of the miniature Japanese garden.

In what ways have you utilized sustainable eco-friendly materials?

Sustainability was a key consideration in the design, incorporating environmental concepts that emphasize the use of recycled and regenerated materials to showcase the art of green living and make a contribution to sustainable development. The seats in the venue are adorned with grey-toned terrazzo with white stones made from crushed and recycled ceramic coffee cup fragments mixed with terrazzo. The cement board with bamboo pattern is regenerated from pulverized powder of building waste from different dismantled buildings. The use of thin bamboo laminate instead of wood laminate is a nod to the rapid growth cycle of bamboo compared to that of trees.

Courtesy of NOC Coffee
Courtesy of NOC Coffee

What unique challenges did you face in designing a café space that balances functionality with the desired aesthetic appeal?

The original spatial layout was irregular, posing a significant challenge to achieving balance and unity between the indoor and outdoor areas. The design ingeniously employs a simple streamlined ceiling design that break through different zones, creating a flowing water-like wave pattern reminiscent of a landscape. The continuous gravel patterns echo each other, and the placement of natural elements such as bamboo groves and mountains imitates the essence of the landscape’s water flow and mountains, and the indoor and outdoor spaces seem to have merged into a harmonious coexistence.

How does the design of NOC Coffee reflect the cultural fusion often seen in Hong Kong’s culinary scene?

Bamboo is a key element in the design, and the design deliberately uses various interesting and delicate materials to interpret the bamboo in new and traditional ways. A large number of interior walls are adorned with extra-long cement board modules with a bamboo pattern to depict the illusion of a real bamboo grove. The lighting enhances the three-dimensional effect of the bamboo patterns and the sense of upward growth, calming the mind and purifying the air at the same time. The hand-brewed coffee workshop area uses the bamboo-shaped internal structures, paying homage to the cultural heritage of traditional craftsmen. The seating and dining table in the Japanese garden style are uniformly covered with warm-toned bamboo laminate, adding a sense of warmth and contrast to the cool grey cement board with bamboo pattern but there is no sense of disobedience.

Courtesy of NOC Coffee
Courtesy of NOC Coffee

What do you hope clientele will feel or experience when they enter NOC Coffee for the first time?

The seating in the Japanese garden style invites visitors to sit quietly and contemplate the inner garden from different angles, with each position offering a unique perspective. When the sun shines through inside from the curtain wall, the most amazing and modern garden landscape that is nothing short of enchanting.

Courtesy of NOC Coffee
Courtesy of NOC Coffee

How do you envision NOC Coffee contributing to the broader conversation about sustainable development and conscious consumerism in Hong Kong?

With NOC being an acronym for “Not Only Coffee”, they endeavor to reduce their environmental impact from every touchpoint. With that being said, the Not Only Recycle Rewards Programme encourages everyone to partake and get rewards. Setting out to curate a hub for sustainability, we welcome you to bring back used coffee capsules or instant coffee cups in #5 plastic (PP/polypropylene) of all brands to our retail store or café location for recycling.

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