Boh Café: Sustainable Futures

Hello friends!

I was given an assignment for my optional unit to design and brand a café in the new building of the University that was sustainable. This meant that we could choose different elements that made the café sustainable, be it the decoration or the furniture itself, and creating a logo or brand image that reflected it’s interior and ensure that it is suitable for students and staff. The café will be hypothetically placed in the existing new Deli café in the new building:

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The above images are of the existing café.


Warning! This is a bit of a hefty post, so if you’d like (and I won’t be offended) go on and just scroll down to look at any images of my design and presentation boards.

I am hugely inspired by nature, as you may have seen in previous posts, and seeing as being Sustainable is about respecting nature, the environment, being eco friendly and helping out the planet, I thought this is a perfect way for me to bring the outside in and to give it my own personal, quirky little touch to it.


I love anything to do with upcycled, bohemian and biophilic design, so combining these different styles was a bit of a challenge, especially as I couldn’t find any images of existing interiors that had all 3 elements in them. Eventually I had to settle with just finding images with perhaps 2 of the elements and just hoped that it would work out. Below is my initial concept board with images of different interiors, design elements, colours and materials I’d like to use in the space. All the images are sourced from different websites and Pinterest. This was the first time I’d use circular images in my boards, and I loved the effect it had so much that I decided to make it a theme across the rest of my boards. You’ll see.

final print sustainable concept board

After establishing my concept, I then started sourcing furniture and materials that are sustainable, responsibly sourced or recycled. I also did a organic fabric dying experiment, which you can read here on my other blog.


Here’s my materials and product boards for the café’s design:


I made the concrete floor sample myself using Concrete I got at B&Q. I wrote a blog post on how I did it here.

final sustainable servery board

Shop the look (Part 1):

  • Lakeland paints in colours Sunflower, Cherry Ice, Tango, Kirsty, Blue Pastel, Gualala, and Vandern, buy them here. Lakeland Paints are an awesome paint company that is eco-friendly, has zero toxins and is VOC free. These will be used for the servery to give the wood and for some of the furniture.
  • Reclaimed wood which can be bought from the Southampton Wood Recycling Project or found through websites such as freecycle and freegle, bought on Ebay or found in skips and building sites. Always ask permission to take any scrap wood, I don’t want you getting arrested. This will be used for the servery and parts of the floor.
  • John Lewis Saxby Recessed Shield MV Tilt spotlights in Satin/Silver.
  • Reclaimed crate boxes, can be found through Ebay, at craft fairs and Etsy.
  • Biodegradable plates, bowls, cups and cutlery from Little Cherry. These are awesome, the tableware and cutlery are made from responsibly sourced bamboo, the bowls are made from wheat pulp, so they are completely recyclable.
  • Recycled blue glass tiles from Fired Earth. They have other shapes and coloured tiles made from recycled glass.
  • Concrete counter top and flooring, made from normal concrete that can be found at B&Q.
  • Cork Flooring in “Standard” from the Cork Flooring company.sustainable cafe product board 02
    Shop the look (Part 2):
  • Scaffolding shelving made from reclaimed scaffolding beams and pipes. Image used from the internet for visual purposes only, as the materials used would be from reclamation yards or found online.
  • Monterey 3 Seater Sofa from Adventures in Furniture in the Panno fabric, colour Orange.
  • DIWALI Metal, Jute and old Saris multicoloured Wicker Armchair from Maisons du Monde.
  • Upcycled wood pallet coffee table. Pallet found next to a skip, the legs are from Ebay. Painted with Lakeland paints’ Cherry Ice. I usually cut the legs down a bit so that the pallet sits on them at coffee table height. The pallet can be found on Ebay, but are easily found at garden centres, usually next to skips or on industrial estates.
  • Peacock Rattan Vintage Armchair from Maisons Du Monde, painted in Lakeland paints‘ Gualala.
  • Safavieh Hand-woven Seagrass Rug from Overstock.
  • John Lewis Bolu Pendant Shade in Copper.
  • Upcycled maison jar chandelier. Image found on Etsy and is being used for visual purposes only. Easy to do yourself and there are loads of DIY tutorials on how to make these on Youtube. You can, if you’re feeling lazy, buy them from Etsy.
  • Vitra Eames DKW Wire Chair from John Lewis.
  • CH24 Wishbone Chair from Benchmark painted in Lakeland Paints’ Sunflower.
  • Industrial Chic Aldrion 2m reclaimed wood dining table from the Sustainable Furniture Company.

I wanted to have bits that are upcycled in the café because it is a form of sustainable interior and product design, so I thought that some of the lights and furniture could be upcycled. I chose to use a coffee table in the scheme that is upcycled from a wood pallet and turned wooden legs. These will be used in the lounge/chill out areas or corners of the café. You can read about the real life DIY wood pallet coffee table I created here which was inspired by the amazing DIY pallet table that Kate Albrecht from Mr Kate created. So it’s not my own design but definitely a favourite amongst my family and friends, so much so that I made on for one of my best friends.

Wood Pallet Coffee Table


The lighting in the chill out areas will be chandeliers made form recycled mason jars. As this café is going in to an existing space, and although I wanted to have a biophilic element in the design, I decided to use these beautiful recycled blue glass tiles from Fired Earth to represent water, to really give it that natural vibe and it links with the location of the café as Southampton is a seaside City, and the university is called Southampton Solent University, therefore I found it quite fitting. Behind each sofa will be a living plant wall, to really bring in that biophilic feel, and to improve indoor air quality.


The floor is split in to sections with different types of flooring to define those areas: Cork for the chill out areas, because it’s warm, soft and completely sustainable, it’s also naturally antibacterial. The concrete will be for the areas where there are dining tables and chairs. Concrete is sustainable, who knew!? It doesn’t rust or mould, is very strong and can be reused again when broken down. Reclaimed wood is used as a guided path towards the servery, which is also made from reclaimed wood.


I did two different café designs, but used the same furniture and materials for both. Below are the images for both cafés and my final visualisation boards:

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See what I meant by possibly going OTT with circles? Even so, I think it works really well.

Cafe Design 1:

final print first jm cafe board 02final print first jm cafe board 01

Cafe Design 2:

final second jm cafe board


As mentioned in the beginning, I had to brand the café as well. As it being a student café and with a hint of bohemian elements to it, I decided to name the café Boh Cafe. The Boh of course linked with bohemian but also links with botanical, due to having living plant walls and it being a sustainable café. I chose two different styled fonts for the logo, a cursive one for Boh and an all capitals fonts for Cafe. I like the difference between the two as it’s quite popular in branding and logos, but also has that slight quirkiness to it, which reflects the space. I decided to use the same colours as the paint in my design for the logo, so that it links even more.


I then created a branding board in Photoshop, where I placed the logo on to different objects that would be used in the cafe. I love that even though on the logo is green on the brown paper bags, cups and napkins, it’s still links, showing that the logo is very transferrable.
final sustainable brand board


I am so proud of this projects and what I achieved. I just love how it looks and would honestly eat (and probably live, I mean, I think the design can easily be used for a residential space) in a café like this. I just wish this was a live project. If you’ve made it this far down (I know, it’s an extremely long post but I just wanted to share it with you all) then thank you for reading! I really appreciate it!


Which café is your favourite out of the two? Let me know what you think in the comments!


Thanks again and have a great day everyone!

Danica x


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