Coffee, with a side of community concern

Spot some unusual décor at the Bengaluru café, Cuppa, as empty tables turn display spaces for artists and designers

One of the many life lessons the lockdown taught us is never take the simple things of life for granted. Like a walk in the park. Or the joy of sitting in a café.

Mulling over this during the initial stages of the lockdown, the directors of Cuppa, Visakh Vishwambharan and Vijay Sreedhar, decided to take a proactive stance whenever they were able to open up for business again.

“We knew we would have to ensure some manner of social distancing was followed in our cafes and had decided to leave alternate tables vacant even before it became mandatory,” says Vijay Sreedhar, adding, “Since many artists, craftsmen and startups were going through a rough patch because of the lockdown, we decided to make use of the space in a manner that would benefit them.”

Cuppa reached out to people in their area — the empty tables could be used by anyone to display their wares, free of cost. Customers can view the products and get in touch with the designer directly if they wish to purchase a product.

Coffee, with a side of community concern

“We started at our HSR outlet as it is near the National Institute of Fashion Technology (NIFT). We wanted to give the upcoming artists from NIFT a platform to showcase their designs, knowing full well they would not be able to afford a display space on their own. This practice is now being followed at our other locations.”

Initially, the team at Cuppa reached out to artists in the area. Soon enough, by word of mouth, all the tables at Cuppa were filled. Needless to say, no one turned down their offer.

“We allocate tables on the basis of availability. This post-pandemic scenario could become the norm and we are ready to keep this initiative running for as long as the situation persists to help the community,” says Vijay.

According to Vijay, the décor layout is a joint venture. “The artist has the freedom to set up their products based on their aesthetic sensibilities. It is up to us at Cuppa to ensure distancing norms are followed. The lovely articles on display have lent a vibrant air to our sites.”

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