Whilst already popular in counties such as Japan, Austria and Paris, London will soon be playing host to the first Cat Café in the area. Cat cafés provide an environment for those wishing to eat, drink and relax with felines. They provide a seemingly ideal alternative for cat lovers who cannot keep one themselves, but still want to enjoy their company whilst having something to eat or drink. Cat Café Nekorobi, Japan [pictured below], is just one of these cafés that provides such a service.
Lady Dinah’s Cat Emporium will soon be opening in east London; but an opening date has not yet been announced. Lady Dinah’s Cat Emporium is the brainchild of Lauren Pears and has been financed through crowd funding; a process by which people contribute money towards a project in return for priority access to what the company is offering. The Cat Emporium reached its goal of raising £108,000 within a matter of months; a strong indicator that London is more than ready for a cat café to open its doors. Those interested can keep up to date with the cafe’s progress via the website.
With cats being the main attraction of this new café, it begs the question, will those not too keen on cats still visit? With its location in trendy east London, not only will it provide a relaxing retreat from London’s buzzing city life, but it could provide a platform for upcoming designers to showcase their work. According to the website, the Cat Emporium will be selling a range of “eclectic and inventive merchandise from local artists, photographers and designers” [Lauren Pears, Lady Dinah’s Cat Emporium] as well as typical café refreshments. On anticipation and intrigue alone, it’s bound to have people flocking from all parts of the UK, not just London.
From a design perspective; existing cat cafés appear to have a quiet, unassuming feel to them. This could be, from the visitors’ perspective, to mimic the feeling of being in one’s own home surrounded by their own cats. If the customers feel relaxed then so do the cats and harmony prevails. It’s this harmony that needs to be kept in mind when designing for a space like this; the relationship between the cats, visitors and their surroundings would make for a most interesting brief. The welfare of the cats is paramount, which could limit the design process in terms of materials and textures, but the individual circumstances should also allow for some innovative, inclusive design to take shape.
So what can be expected in terms of the interior aesthetics for the Cat Emporium? Very little information has been revealed about what it might end up looking like; but if the style of the website is anything to go by it will be an eclectic mix of old and new featuring strong, heritage colours. Undoubtedly a project like this would hold many unique challenges for the designers involved. With the added dimension of designing for cats as well as people, function must take priority over aesthetics. The task of providing a safe, comfortable environment for these animals as well as an attractive, individual experience for visitors will certainly be an interesting one.
PROGRESS31OCT [Unknown] Progress Bar [Online Image]. Available from: [17/01/14].
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