Location was everything when interior architecture firm Znamy Się, in Wrocław, Poland, approached the design for Pastry Club Woda (Klubopiekarnia Woda). The bakery, which turns into a club at night, is in the historic Rother’s Mills complex on Mill Island in the city of Bydgoszcz.
Though now a bustling culture centre and hangout spot, the island has long been economically significant for the city, serving as a major production point of flour and hub for transporting grain inland. Rother’s Mills was used both as a mill and a granary. Understanding the processes used at the mill—grain ground with millstones and distributed by a Hopper-boy machine for cooling before being sifted and packed—was important for Znamy Się, given the historical significance of the place, and they wanted to incorporate elements of it in their design.
Much of the 840-square-foot space’s interior, including the floor, seating, and counter, is a bright cobalt blue, a nod to the water surrounding the island and used in the milling, plus its serenity and flow. The blue is complemented by pops of orange on the tabletops and in the overhead storage, which bring to mind sunsets, warmth, and the sweetness of citrus. Grooves in the plaster of the walls in the dining area and in the ribbing of the storage shelves reference the raking pattern made by the Hopper-boy machines.
A long counter divides the seating and customer area from the kitchen and prep spaces, all of which are open so visitors can observe the baking process—the steel and equipment reference the machines used in the past. On one side, the bar’s blue tiling is topped with glass display counters, and more loaves of bread, tempting baked goods, and other products are on view on open wooden shelving behind the register. On the other side hovers a large, round shelving unit, with a fluted, orange-tinted, opaque backing that faces the customer. With a warm glow that faintly illuminates the bottles within, the circle subtly foreshadows the revelry that takes place once the sun goes down.
The narrow strip of indoor seating is made up of a velveteen cobalt banquette with rounded grooved backing and matching stools—the tables are circular or oval to accommodate two or four respectively. Additional outdoor courtyard seating runs along three sides of the bakery with airy blue chairs and tables, and a large window into the kitchen continues the conversation between visitor and machine, even when outside.
The concept of Pastry Club Woda centres around contrast from which emerges similarity—a spot for a morning pastry unexpectedly transforms into an evening watering hole, a flour production facility becomes a bakery, unlikely colours are paired for a vibrant and joyful colourscape, and two forces of nature, water and sun, are brought together to create a gathering place that is comfortingly balanced.
Photography by ONI Studio.