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11 Stunning Coffee Shops Impersonating Other Buildings

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In Fall 2010, the NYC design firm Nemaworkshop unveiled their rather unconventional design for midtown Manhattan's D'Espresso coffee shop: the interiors—down to the wallpaper, hardwood-style panels, and white orb lamps—were designed to look just like those of a library, provided, of course, onlookers first tilt their heads 90 degrees. Oddly enough, coffee shops have become fertile ground for experimental interior design—just ask the people at Starbucks, which has recruited big names in the design world like Kengo Kuma and has even set up shop in shipping containers. The thing is, coffee isn't tricky or unusual to procure at home, so coffee shops, even more than other restaurants, need a little extra design oomph to get people to pay $4-plus for something that otherwise costs pennies. Above: beautifully decorated coffee shops that get design panache by dressing incognito, from a coffee shop that looks like it was plunked onto a highway in Japan to an urban farm in Melbourne, Australia. Good news: these guys are fascinating and sane, which is more than one can say about other architectural disguises.

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