Cats are the poem of poets, the flowing water, and the previous existence of philosophers. In the age of living alone, cats might be the best companions.
When the concrete city forest divides each family into individuals, and the rapid development of the times pushes everyone forward, there is no time to pay attention to personal emotions and to establish intimate relationships. Thus, the era of pets comes into being. Whether cats, dogs, or other creatures, they all accompany humans in the small dwelling in the city, living through each ordinary, happy, and sad day together.
Unlike dogs, cats seem to be more self-conscious. This characteristic may be the reason why cats have won the favor of many writers such as Haruki Murakami, Hemingway, Qian Zhongshu, and so on. However, not everyone can keep cats as they wish. To meet the demands of cat lovers who cannot keep cats, business model as cat cafe comes into being.
The space scale – cats
To create a better consumption experience, Bubble Cat launched the 2.0 era of immersive cat cafe experience in Zhangjiagang Shopping Park. Based on the brand concept, the design team has created a safe, smooth, and friendly space. The cat cafe is composed of circular glass curtain walls of different sizes, which resemble cat paws, presenting an orderly and interesting atmosphere. The transparent glass material reveals the indoor service to the greatest extent in a way of blurring the boundaries between indoor and outdoor, attracting passers-by to increase consumption.
The cheesecake from the cartoon Tom and Jerry appear as furniture in the cafe. The small round hole on the cake is transformed into the passage and shelter for cats. The design inspiration comes from the insight into the cat’s behavior and instinct, who loves to hide and seek and gain a sense of security in the small holes.
In addition to the horizontal path design, the design team took into account the cats’ preference for high places and transformed the pillars in the pet area into a space for cats to climb vertically. The intensive and short-distance steps make it easy for kittens to cross and it can bear the weight of several cats playing on the pole. What’s more, there are two passages to the toilet that only cats know. The small revolving door at the end of the passage allows cats to use the toilet more privately and avoid odors.
The two different textures of the art paint and fire-resistant wood bring a high-end experience, plus the anti-scratching fabric design, creating a warm color for guests and cats to accompany while making the space maintenance much easier.
Not just cat lovers
In addition to cats, who are the most frequent users in the space, the design team also made a more detailed design for consumers after considering the consumption forms and methods. The 400-square-meter space includes 14 functional areas such as pet products retail area, hand-brewed tea area, pet experience area, parent-child play area, pet cleaning area, pet grooming area, etc. According to the movements of consumers after entering the space, different types of consumption scenes are created. The pet interaction area and the tea area are presented as two circular shapes to find a balance between cats and cat-lovers, creating a positive space for people and cats to share.
In the design process, the sanitation and safety of cats and human food are the key and difficult points to be considered. Drink production and daily cat maintenance need to be separated and interacted. The use of large-area glass achieves hygiene separation without separating the interaction, which cleverly maintains the safe and hygienic distance between humans and cats.
Each area has closely adhered to the important design principles of naturally healthy and happy parent-child communication. The space allows people to relax and gradually cure anxiety, and to learn how to balance work and life in the relationship between care and companionship in the process of getting along with cats.
Parents will improve the parent-child relationship in this space, and the children will learn love and tolerance in the process of growth. At the same time, it also gives the mother breaks from housework. Most of the tables and chairs in the space are round and curved to reduce bumps. In the casual game space, low tables and chairs that are more suitable for the height of children are also placed, and the chairs are also more rounded to reduce the bumps to children.
When faced with more and more pressure, instinct will make people look for an outlet to release themselves. As the relationship between people is becoming more and more fragile and indifferent, people are more and more eager for a stable social relationship that is purely non-utilitarian. Since the satisfaction gained from pets surpasses that of human-to-human relationships, pets are becoming increasingly important. Among them, cats are like childish kids with independent personalities, so people have no burden to get along with them. Instead, people will continue to gain satisfaction in the process of taking care of cats. The friendship between cats and humans is real, simple, and pure.
Project Name: Bubble Cat
Project Address: Shopping Park, Zhangjiagang, Suzhou, China
Design Firm: OYTT Design
Leading Designer: Ouyang Tiao
Design Team: Zhou Danfeng, Yao Yun
Assistant Design Team: Zhu Jiahui, Ma Xiaobei
Project Area: 400 square meters
Design Period: April-May 2021
Completion time: October 2021
Main Materials: stone, brick, texture paint, fireproof board, stainless steel
Material Brand: Bella Vista
Photography: Chen Ming