Innovative Café Design: Your Path to Success

by Wade Larkin on

Innovative Café Design: Your Path to Success

Innovative café design is much more than simply great aesthetics. Just as a café is more than just a spot to enjoy a good coffee, it is sensory experiences and connection that drives people to frequent their favourite spot. And good coffee, of course. Some aspects of making an incredible café experience are clear: great produce, a welcoming atmosphere, art, music.  

Design is one such factor. Innovative design digs a little deeper to discover the aspects that create a true sensory experience – facilitating connection and enhancing food. From biophilia, flexible café layout to the experience of sound – there are many ways to take innovation in café design to the next level. 


Embracing the Open: The Importance of Outdoor Cafes 

Whether it’s the small strip of tables that make up the front of your café or a dedicated green space, the significance of outdoor café designs is not to be underestimated, especially in our modern lifestyle.  

Our need to connect with nature is innate. We are naturally drawn to the presence of greenery, the gentle feel of a breeze, and the warmth of sunlight. This is a multisensory experience that indoor spaces can rarely replicate. This connection not only improves our mood and health, but it also enhances the dining experience.

Based on the iconic Pedrali metal garden chairs first created in 1963, the Nolita 3657 are the perfect way to link modern design to a connection with nature. Perfect for cafes and outdoor use, these powder-coated low barstools come in a sophisticated variety of colours. 


Flexibility in Furniture Arrangements 

The modern café needs flexibility – sometimes your customers are looking for your best muffin and a quiet corner with their book, at other times they are busy conducting a team meeting. Forward-thinking cafés are adopting modular furniture that can be easily reconfigured to suit various groups and their needs. 

Think of lightweight chairs such as Pedrali’s Dome 260, this modern indoor-outdoor chair has a light, durable and UV resistant frame – making it easily adaptable to any space. 


How to Enhance not Impair the Taste of your Food 

Eating is a sensory experience. Taste of course plays the most significant role here, but the other senses and how they affect taste cannot be discounted.

Hearing may not seem as important a sense as say smell when it comes to enhancing flavour but studies have shown that ‘background noise and loud music can impair our ability to taste food and drink. It would appear that noise selectively impairs the ability to detect tastes such as sweet and sour while leaving certain other taste and flavour experiences relatively unaffected.’ 

While this sounds like it may present a problem to the culinary experience you serve at your cafe, it’s an opportunity. Think of the positive effect a beautiful piece of music has on all your senses and how it could be used to enhance dining. A thoughtful approach to how sound is heard in your space is all that is required. 


Soften the Noise, not the Vibe 

We’ve all experienced dining out in a noisy, oversaturated environment. One where we can barely hear ourselves think – let alone speak. In general, we will respond by further raising our voices, adding to the level of noise in what is known as the Lombard Effect. 

The art of conversation, however, is integral to the experience – we dine out to socialise and connect. When we think of the perfect dining environment, home is often the place that comes to mind; soft drapes, good linen, and carpet. All of which absorb sound.  

The balance between ambience and clear conversation is a delicate one. That is where innovative products such as the Autex Lattice Sculpture are at the forefront of café design. Elegant, abstract, and calculated in form, Lattice absorbs echo and sound reverberation, while its flexible form suits any space.  


Materials Make the Sound 

Creating ambience and sound absorption in your café is heavily affected by the materials you use. Hard floors, bare walls, large glass areas all create sharp, loud sounds. However, curtains, carpets, cloth, and rugs all soften these sounds, creating a warmer, gentler sound.  

The positioning of furniture also comes into play, the more projections of furniture, the more sound reverberation increases in your spaces. Modern restaurant interior design with its focus on minimal aesthetic does little to consider sound absorption, favouring design over sound experience. 

“The auditory sense particularly has a big impact,” says Sidi Gomes, principal designer at Cambridge Innovation Center (CIC). “The reason it is not weighted as much as its visual counterpart…it leaves its mark at an almost subconscious level, so it is easy to forget to design for it.” 

However, this does not need to be the case. Sound absorbing materials aren’t just restricted to just soft furnishings. Sound absorbing panels such as Autex Cube Acoustic panels are fully customisable, they can be cut, moulded, printed, pressed, or even grooved to create unique, minimal acoustic features for any interior space. 


Light Up the Senses, Create an Atmospheric Experience 

Visual senses are not to be forgotten. Warm and gentle lighting can create a relaxed environment, where your customers will happily spend hours chatting or reading. Light can also sculpt spaces within café layouts – smaller nooks for cosy corners. 

Lighting plays a pivotal role in defining the mood and atmosphere. The right selection of lights helps to enhance a tranquil and positive customer experience. Georgina, by Luxxbox is one such example of how light can shape a space and create a room within a room. 

Georgina combines aesthetics, ambience, and sustainability. It’s made from noise-absorbing, recycled materials and is 100% recyclable. With its generous acoustic dome, it can create smaller, more intimate spaces in your café.  



Careful thought and consideration for your customer’s needs is the core of innovative, human-centric café design. The pay off? Customers who will feel your care and attention to detail – becoming not only loyal customers but advocates for your business. 

At NPS Commercial, our long-standing partnerships with leading Australian and International brands allow us to deliver innovation café furnishing solutions with heart. We are a full-service supplier, meaning that we can quote, purchase, and install your office furniture solutions for you. Contact our team today on 1300 889 194 or at