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Purple Llama Coffee & Record Shop

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Located in Chicago’s Wicker Park neighborhood, Purple Llama Coffee & Records Shop transformed an empty 1,000 square foot. retail space into a place to enjoy music, coffee, and community.

Inside, a main service bar undulates through the middle of the cafe. Dark, faceted, and heavy, the service bar anchors the space and contrasts with the lightness of the walls and ceiling. Behind, a meandering wood finished wall provides hidden storage, merchandise displays, and leads visitors back to the “records vault” where customers can shop through an eclectic selection of curated records and additional merchandise.

The main space is flooded with light through a large bifolding glass door. These doors are kept open during the warmer months, opening up the inside to the large outdoor patio enclosed by custom-built planters and greenery.

Surface mounted can lights above the front bar provide even lighting for customers and employees while the hidden cove light at the back bar reflects off the white solid surface void to draw attention to the interior from the street. In addition, the space makes use of neon lighting in the cafe’s color and logo, provding a punch of color visible, day or night.

Photography: Tom Harris