Observation of Space

Most mornings on the way to work I drop into the local coffee shop to get a take away large cappuccino, no sugar, and that’s because…… I’m sweet enough as it is! I repeat this action each and every Saturday morning whilst also getting a copy of the Sydney Morning Herald and a second coffee for my wife. Therefore, my observation is in two parts. Firstly, I recall my observations as part of the weekly 5 minute ‘drop in’ to collect my coffee before going back on a Saturday morning to sit in the coffee shop to engage in a 30 minute observation.

Morning ‘Drop in’

I walk from the car park and feel all of the three degrees weather at 7:45am. I walk past some shops that are located in the shopping precinct in which the cafe is located. As soon as I walk into the cafe the welcome feeling of warmth envelops me. I join a queue of 4 people waiting for take away coffee. As I make my order I am greeted by the owner, Alex. He is the only person working at this time. A few more people join the queue and we look for space between the tables and chairs located in the cafe. No-one is seated. All orders are ‘take-aways’. All people waiting (except for me because I am observing) get out their mobiles and look at them, occasionally using the key pad on their phone. One customer walks outside to take a call. I feel the rush of the cold air come through the door. Within a few moments Alex gives me my coffee and I leave enjoying the first few tastes in the cold air before getting to the car.

Saturday Morning Observation.

As I walk from the car park to the Cafe at 8:30am, I feel the cool air and immediately notice there are more people around than is the case during the week. As soon as I walk into the cafe the welcome feeling of warmth hits me. I am warmly greeted by two young ladies who are ex-students of the College. I order my breakfast and am asked where I am sitting, to which I respond accordingly. I notice the staff member ‘squeezing’ between the till, and coffee machine to write down the order. Located adjacent to till on the left is a display case with assosrted ‘delights’ such as croissants, cakes and buns.  On the right there is a standing fridge with various juices, sandwiches and wraps. Behind the counter the barista is placed immediately behind the person taking the order. They are located quite closely together and therefore the space behind the counter near the til, is limited and cramped.

Cafe External

I turn around to find a parent of the College waiting in line. We have a quick chat and discover we both recently spent time in Singapore as part of longer overseas trips.

I sit at my table and also notice

– that almost all tables are filled with people in their sixties or more. The décor is relatively plain, white tables, black chairs, lino on the floor. Ornate decorations fill the walls above the 2 metre high windows on two sides of the cafe.

– There is a lot of natural light which fills the cafe. The glass windows allows patrons to looks out onto a central courtyard that serves as a communal space for the shopping complex. Part of the courtyard has tables and chairs for the use of café. No-one is sitting there (due to the cold morning?). Some of the tables are located in the shade.

Cafe Internal


– Deliveries of milk arrive and they come through the front entrance door. The gentleman spends ten minutes packing the produce into fridges located at one end of the café.

– For those ordering take away coffees, there is soon a queue which fills the empty space between tables and chairs between the entrance to the counter.

I complete my breakfast, which was enjoyable and say my goodbyes to Alex and the ladies who so warmly welcomed me into the cafe.

Cafe Sketch 2Cafe Courtyad







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