As we ramp up for the opening of The Crown: Royal Coffee Lab & Tasting Room in Oakland, California, we felt it was appropriate to highlight the professionals, artisans & designers who are bringing our vision to light. Read all about The Crown on our blog here.

Studio Terpeluk has bridged the gap between the functional and the beautiful at The Crown. We are floored by their attention to detail and commitment to ensuring the space is as practical as it is elegant. Coffee professionals know fully well the importance of a well placed knock box, an endless hot water stream and ample green coffee storage. The challenge is taking those elements and crafting them into a space that is both welcoming & durable; timeless & modern; classic & avant-garde. If you lean into the specifics of the project, it’s easy to see the overwhelming amount of coffee equipment needed to power The Crown. Brett, Huy & Michelle took the challenge presented to them and reinterpreted our meaning of what The Crown will come to be. Read our interview below to learn more about this talented group.

Group Photo: Studio Terpeluk, Norman Sanchez Architecture, Northern Sun & Chambers Art and Design at The Crown

Hi Studio Terpeluk! Please introduce yourself.

We are a San Francisco-based architecture and design studio whose work includes custom homes, exhibits, commercial buildings and restaurants. Curiosity is the driving force through each project and ultimately we strive for a high level of design innovation and technical proficiency throughout our work. We have received accolades from the American Institute of Architects and our work has been published internationally.

Principal Brett Terpeluk is a Pennsylvania native who studied at Princeton and Rice Universities. Prior to forming Studio Terpeluk, he worked for 10 years in Italy for Renzo Piano.


How did you get involved with The Crown: Royal Coffee Lab & Tasting Room?

We were introduced to Max Nicholas-Fulmer through a mutual friend upon the opening of Liholiho Yacht Club, which we also designed. Max engaged us to help fulfill his vision of creating a unique and impactful environment for The Crown.


What is your role in the project?

We are the Design Architect and responsible for the look and feel of the spaces, including the custom steel storefront, some custom lighting and the parklet. Studio Terpeluk is Michelle Peña, Huy Nguyen and Brett Terpeluk. We are fortunate to be able to collaborate with a team that includes Norman Sanchez, the Architect of Record; Hiram Banks, the lighting consultant; Strandberg Engineers, the structural engineer; and Charles Salter, the acoustic consultant.


Left to Right: Brett Terpeluk, Michelle Peña & Huy Nguyen 

How would you describe The Crown: Royal Coffee Lab & Tasting Room?

The simple enfilade of spaces at
The Crown belies the complexity and variability of the different programs within. A sliding glass door system below a wood superstructure acts as a valve, separating or joining the adjacent programs based on their changeable needs. The glass pendant fixtures, stainless steel and white tile work in the roasting and brewing labs take their cue from the laboratory-like nature of activities in those spaces. The more public presentation and café areas are activated by a visually dynamic wall of textured green tile, which was conceived with the green sourcing aspect of Royal Coffee in mind. The public spaces are softened by wood flooring, marble and plaster walls. From Broadway, one is drawn into The Crown through a parklet abounding with succulents and angular geometries. Before passing through the concrete vestibule, one can experience the activity within via a large sliding-glass storefront. Once inside, the experience is framed by the illuminated menu board, green tile wall and a monumental custom chandelier that has a substantial presence in the space.


Have you ever done a coffee project before? If so, can you share?

We have done smaller coffee stations for restaurants and private clients, but nothing even close to the scale of The Crown.


What’s been the biggest challenge of designing & building The Crown: Royal Coffee Lab & Tasting Room?

This project is saturated with precise criteria, both technical and programmatic. Our biggest challenge is to accommodate this technical criteria and spatial flexibility within a holistic design concept.

What’s been the biggest surprise of designing & building The Crown: Royal Coffee Lab & Tasting Room?

The biggest surprise has been the onerous requirements from the Alameda County Environmental Health department. Many of the spaces need to conform to the criteria of a full-service restaurant, despite the use being exclusively coffee-related.


Anything else you’d like to share?

We would like to share our deepest gratitude for Max and his team for their continued enthusiasm for the implementation of the design vision.

What’s the best way for people to contact you?

Give us a call at 415-874-9033, email us at info@studioterpeluk.com, visit us online at www.studioterpeluk.com, or stop by anytime at 148 Townsend St. #1 (we’re near the ballpark)!