Since FSW café – that’s short for Fifteen Steps Workshop – opened on bustling Zhuangjin Road seven years ago, Taipei‘s coffee parlour scene has gone leaps and bounds, seeing a large number of specialised spots opening across town. Although the café has gained a loyal following of its own, the owner felt the need to raise its profile by way of a full revamp and tapped on the door of local architecture practice PhoebeSaysWow. Occupying an 80 sqm. (861 sq.ft.) ground floor corner unit of a mixed-use building, it features a new pristine white façade with matching awning and terraced seating, and a design, largely captured by light-induced polycarbonate panels, which discreetly shields the interior from street view. The FSW premises have been divided into three distinct sections—a streetside standing bar and service counter which aims to pull both patrons and passers-by for a coffee pitstop, a secluded yet light-filled meeting space dotted with potted plants, and last but not least, situated in the back, a full-fledged roastery. A second, smaller counter looking directly out onto the street can be found around the corner in a side alley. The polycarbonate panels see frames in a bright yellow hue, lending the interior a playful, graphic quality. While the invite-only meeting space mostly hosts selected patrons during the day, it also hosts a roster of cupping seminars or lecture programmes. The menu at FSW lists a variety of dripping coffee concoctions created from a wide range of tasty house blends.
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