In the summer of 2014 I was living in London, working in coffee and trying my best to wrap up my masters dissertation. That summer Joel reached out to me about an impromptu trip to London. His initial impetus was to soak up everything that the fresh, dynamic London speciality coffee scene had to offer as part of his preparations to open a curated vinyl record store and coffee bar. We found ourselves neck deep visiting London's coffee bars, cupping with friends at Square Mile Coffee Roasters, and talking tunes over cask ales (queue up the Silver Jew's "American Water").
Fast forward a year later and Joel and I are working with coffee professionals from all over the Chicago area and elsewhere. We were extremely fortunate to be introduced to many past and current Intelligentsia collaborators including Andy Freivogel of Science Retail and Nick Barnett of SteamVolt. Andy was kind enough to introduce us to Daniel Wicke formerly of Wheeler Kearns Architects. Joel and I were excited to learn that Danny was the mind behind Intelligentsia's recent renovation of their original Broadway coffee bar as well as the design of their brand new Wicker Park outpost. From the beginning we found it easy to communicate our needs with Danny and found him to be the ideal sounding board for all of our admittedly eccentric ideas.
The design process for Purple Llama was amplified when we learned that our graphic designer, Brian W. Jones of Dear Coffee I Love You, was a close friend of Danny's from back in the day. Brian's relationship with Danny allowed us to translate the Purple Llama brand vision to our physical space. Joel brought on Karl Natschke Construction to bring Danny's design to life. Danny's colleague Emmanuel Garcia came on board at this time and provided the last big push for the space - our floating ferrous steel bar.
The photos in the attached link are the end result of this whole process. We're really proud with how things worked out and can't thank all of our friends and colleagues enough for pulling it off.