One of the tasks for the new project ‘Cafe with a social cause’ was identifying three issues that we feel strongly about, and creating our cafe theme around them.
Personally, I tried to choose themes with a positive feel, because I don’t think that anybody will feel like eating in a place that even remotely reminds them of war, female genital mutilation, or pharmaceutical industry’s wrongdoings; which happen to be some of the heavier issues that bother me in particular.
Therefore, I decided to go with something that I feel could benefit people, while at the same time keeping the atmosphere of the cafe positive.
These are the themes that came to mind:
- ‘Illustration’ cafe
This is my favourite idea, as I am very enthusiastic about illustration. In this cafe people would be able to take part in many different sessions and courses, all related to illustration and hand-printing.
Everybody would be welcome, beginners and experienced alike, but the emphasis would be on people who are just starting out, or are thinking about starting out. In this fast-paced world, everyone would benefit from slowing down and getting into creative zone.
Just like myself not that long ago, many others believe that if they haven’t been drawing since childhood, there is no point starting now—they’ll never catch up. However, illustration can take many forms, and its beauty often lies in simplicity. The most basic and child-like illustration can be very successful and express our message or emotions clearly.
This idea, however, won’t be used for this project, as my final major project idea evolves around branding an ‘Illustration holistic festival’, and I don’t want to repeat myself.
- ‘Unplugged’ cafe
This idea probably comes from my background in music, when I often felt that there are not enough venues for a musician to express themselves in a casual and easy-going (and forgiving!) environment. Most venues which feature new artists are only doing it in the evening, and I feel that afternoon sessions could also be welcome by many artists, with the audience sipping tea instead of getting drunk.
The quiet and relaxed, preferably acoustic gigs would add a great vibe to the venue, and upcoming artists would get an opportunity to practice and share their music.
- ‘Back to basics’ cafe
This is the idea that I will most likely go with for this brief.
Nowadays, everyone is rushing around, constantly plugged in to check their emails, social networks, or whatever else they fancy. Technology is amazing, but it makes us more fast-paced and stressed, taking away our inner peace. ‘Back to basics’ cafe will be here to change that. Welcoming people from all walks of life, who share the same desire to disconnect from technology, at least for a while.
Supplied with books, board games, drawing supplies, and even meditating pillows, this will be a place of finding ways to slow down. Laptops not allowed, and people will be encouraged to stay off their phones, or go to a dedicated room if they need to speak or text for more than a few minutes. There would be friendly signs reminding them of respecting the theme of the cafe, and those who mind this would probably choose a different venue next time, making space for those who do resonate with the idea.
There will be regular sessions to help people get into ‘unplugging’ activities too—different types of art making (drawing, collage, hand-printing, etc.), meditation and mindfulness classes.
The cafe will serve healthy drinks and vegetarian food, with no use of chemicals or processed sugar.
I may keep exploring ideas about the cafe projects, as I am not totally convinced with any of these yet.