Ubud is the cultural center of Bali. A place where traditional design and customs still prevail. Every time I go to Ubud I can really feel its unique charm.
Even though it has evolved, you can still feel its old soul. In some ways, it epitomizes Bali – a unique culture that retains many of its ancient ways, even in the modern world.
And then you walk into Full Circle By Expat Roasters and all your coordinates disappear in an instant. You wonder if you are actually in a parallel universe where Ubud has turned into NY or Tokyo. In a place where most people abide by the old ways and don’t dare to be bold, it’s ultra-modern interior is a totally unexpected and very pleasant surprise. But believe it or not, somehow they have intertwined tradition in a very creative way. You only need to look closely to see it.
A combined effort between X + O Architects from Australia and AA Architecture from Jakarta have come to create a very distinctive design that remains faithful to their first Expat Roasters retail store in Seminyak. They’ve kept the concrete look, evolved it, and mixed it with some very current materials creating a feast for the eyes wherever you look.
The main concrete bar area has been corrugated using bamboo poles, giving traditional elements a completely new spin. The stadium-like stairs seating area has actually been taken from the idea of the rice fields where they sloped down like large staircases. The divine terrazzo flooring resembling different coloured rice, complimenting the spaces. The back wall is a mural of the jungle and forest that surrounds Ubud, with the special appearance by the monkeys that are so prevalent around the Monkey Forest (where the café is located).
There are 7 different seating areas to suit your mood, with the most interesting being at the centre of the space. A series of hollow wooden/concrete cubes where you feel undisturbed and private. For those who prefer comfort, the left-hand side wall has semi-round sofas that hug you and almost become a booth. Then there is the bar for that quick coffee on-the-go, o and the back table and chairs for the more conventional seating type.
One of the most amazing things about this place is the lighting. The double-height windows from floor to ceiling create a huge amount of light that is not easy to achieve in the center of Ubud. It’s a beautiful and very welcome sight.
And I haven’t even talked about the coffee yet. But what can I say? Expat is the leading producer and distributers of coffee in Bali. Most coffee shops sell ex-pat roasters coffee. Do I need to say more?
Expat is the kind of place that you go for a coffee and can easily lose track of time. Suddenly, quite a few hours have passed and this modern concrete oasis has become a great refuge where you find the peace and quiet that people have sought out so much when coming to Ubud.