UCC Ueshima Coffee Co. Ltd. is known throughout Japan for its modestly priced coffee beans. To promote its premium line of Largo canned coffee beans to a discerning audience at the Specialty Coffee Association of Japan World Specialty Coffee Conference and Exhibition, UCC asked Hakuten Corp. for an exhibit that positioned the product as more sophisticated than your average cup of joe.
Spilling the Beans
UCC Ueshima Coffee Co. Ltd.'s exhibit for its premium line of beans featured a sophisticated "coffee lab" theme. On-point design elements included gleaming white surfaces, a sprawling network of copper pipes, glass beakers, and custom signage that resembled steam-pressure gauges.
Designer Takumi Takahashi focused on the science that goes into brewing the perfect demitasse and created the UCC Coffee Lab, a 20-by-40-foot island exhibit that was as refined as a rare Kona blend. An expansive central aisle divided two wood and laminate coffee bars. Here, staffers manned more than a dozen serving stations accented with laboratory beakers and glass cloches holding samples of freshly roasted coffee beans. White metal posts supported an acrylic canopy fashioned with decorative rivets and then continued upward to a height of 15 feet, ultimately creating an open framework that gave the exhibit visual weight while still letting the space feel open and airy.
The stand's defining element, however, was its network of copper pipes running underneath and over the coffee bars, along the countertops, and throughout the overhead beams. "Copper has long been used for coffee making because of its excellent thermal conductivity," Takahashi said. "When the exhibit's lights reflected off the copper and onto the white surfaces, it made the whole booth shine."
Takahashi's rich brew of thoughtful materials and dazzling reflectivity certainly perked up Exhibit Design Awards judges, who called the design "magical," "fresh," and "captivating." Copper may have been this exhibit's standout, but the element proved more than enough to help it nab a Bronze Award. E