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Have you ever been in one of those offices where the décor is drab and uninspiring? Have you ever felt like you wanted to escape the small and cramped office kitchen in search of a better place? Well…. here at RPA we don’t need to go far.
Sometimes the immediate, pressing needs of a busy office take over and everything else seems trivial, and so it can be easy to overlook the little things in life and sweep them aside. Thankfully, RPA has a more enlightened approach, and listens to the quiet voices… and so the way was paved for an in-house project which, after some considerable debate on design, the selection of appliances, and materials…. not to mention weeks of disruption, culminated in the birth of Diego’s Café.
Out with the functional but mundane kitchen of yore and in with a bright new open space, a ceiling transformed from drab office to a fabulous coffer with four beautiful ceiling fans, and once closed space opened up to embrace the studio, with surfaces that encourage new ways of working, the old kettle retired from service, and replaced by a more vigorous and capacious boiler and finally…. last but not least… the Italian beast entered the arena, our gorgeous new coffee machine. For those of you who are more acquainted with all things coffee, the beast is actually a wonderful LaMarzocco Strada MP….. a barista’s dream… a little flashy maybe… but there is plenty of substance behind the glint of chrome.
Now I (Diego… nice to meet you!) am endeavouring to turn every architect into a barista. Whilst some people’s latte art skills may be a bit shaky, I am happy to report that everyone at RPA is now able to pull a pretty decent espresso. In fact, some have become quite demanding, and I may have created a few coffee monsters… but I like it like that.
Our coffee machine is more than just an expensive tool. It is the symbol of the heart and soul of the practice, a social focus that never fails to surprise our many visitors, some who are clearly rather jealous. However, the aim is to avoid formality and put people at ease, to surprise them, to make them smile, to share some of the spirit of the office, to be fun, creative, stimulating and welcoming…. like the people who work here.
The casual visitor may notice that we also have a ships bell, boldly displayed on our kitchen wall. No… we don’t need alerting to foggy conditions, and no, we don’t use it to signal the time either. Instead its sonorous tones signal special events….when someone returns from a journey with edible treats…. and drink time, when the fridge magically opens every Friday at 5:00 pm….and if you look closely, there is an inscription on the bell which reads ‘Ulteriora mirari, praesentia sequi… Ad maiora!’ our personal wish, carried on the wind with every ding ‘look at the future, live in the present’….. ‘to greater things!’, which sounds more than appropriate as we raise our glasses to celebrate another week.