Is Instagram to blame for why coffee shops everywhere look the same?
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Is Instagram to blame for why coffee shops everywhere look the same?


All over the world something strange is
happening coffee shops everywhere are starting to look the same. We’re in a coffee shop in Brooklyn and it has a look you probably recognize hanging light bulbs, natural light,
exposed wood, potted plants This look has started to travel. We went to four coffee
shops on four continents to understand why. And there’s a reason that it’s
happening right now. I’m Preeti Varathan, this is Quartz. — And I just started seeing that whether I was in New York or LA or Berlin or Beijing or kind of any city… Kyle Chayka is a reporter who writes about design. and a few years ago he
started noticing this trend. — Each city had its own version of this generic cafe it was this kind of combination of reclaimed wood and Edison bulbs and big
windows. How did this happen? Well, the story starts with something we’re all familiar with Starbucks They created this idea that coffee could be a
classier commodity than it was before. Starbucks taught Americans that coffee
wasn’t just fuel. That coffee shops could be a place where people eat and drink and slow down. Starbucks made coffee a luxury
experience. We will give you a tray. We will give you sparkling water with everything. We want it to be a full experience. And as Starbucks went global it spread that expectation around the world. Meanwhile in the late 2000s in the U.S. a design trend is growing that really
values original materials and authenticity and rawness. — And that kind
of bleeds into the Brooklyn culture that’s starting to emerge around 2006. And then that hits right into the financial crisis which draws everyone’s eye back to these Brooklyn hipster nostalgic look which kind of was super
lo-fi. — As you enter in our cafe you can feel… wood, concrete, steel and light. And while it’s debatable where this look actually originated. it comes to be associated
with one place. Brooklyn, New York. — It’s a very New York, Brooklyn-y vibe. And then something happens that
allows this look to spread around the world. — Silicon Valley suddenly becomes a huge force in cultural life. Visual social media becomes a
major part of our day-to-day lives. — Instagram I think was the first major
social media platform to focus almost solely on images. So it kind of created this
internet culture of taking and sharing photos in real time. — I came here because
the blogger posted some photos when she was in Paris and I really like the vibes
of the coffee shop. — And so it creates this homogenized aspiration. Everyone aspires for the same symbols of luxury at the same time. As that Brooklyn look proliferates across social media it gets refined down to its most
Instagram-able elements; a nostalgic stripped back luxury minimalism. — Those digital spaces are really amenable to the minimalist aesthetic because the web is kind of empty and blank anyway and you want these like super clean images
that only have a few objects in them because they’re more legible on a screen. That’s when you start to see the rise of the luxury minimalists vibe. That’s how coffee shops around the world came to look the same. But if you ask Kyle this is just the beginning. Because it isn’t just coffee shops around the world that are starting to look the same. Social media has changed whole neighborhoods too. — Technology and social media is shaping
the physical world. In places with these kinds of coffee shops, mini “Brooklyns” are popping up. — Bandra is also called the “Brooklyn of Mumbai”. The minimalist Brooklyn coffee
shop look probably won’t be the last global design trend. And places around the world might start to look more and more the same.

100 thoughts on “Is Instagram to blame for why coffee shops everywhere look the same?

  1. Downtown Los Angeles – Arts District (which is ironic because minimalist luxury doesn't reflect the organic visceral largess of art). Btw, "refined down" is redundant.

  2. Not only that guy has an intense vocal fry, but he also finishes many of his sentences as questions. Ugh.

    The video itself is great.

  3. I think it's a valid video in many respects but I would agree with many in the comments that the aesthetic is actually Scandi in origin (minimalist/exposed wood/natural light…) I think many are 'inspired' by what they see on Instagram which is totally fine, there's just those who lack the vision or more commonly, the budget, to be completely original (or pay an archirect/designer to be) and do the best they can with the money they have to create the space that they would like for their consumers 🙂 in terms of originality, you cant do better than 'Truth coffee' in Cape town SA

  4. Stop coping eachother ! Just So selfies are are aestheticly pleasing there to being them attention be ORIGINAL

  5. WTH is their problem. People all over the globe are choosing to patronize local businesses, keeping their money in the local community. They like a stripped down aestheic. Quartz needs to take several seats.

  6. Ironically, this phenomenon doesn't hit bars, or at least in my city, what do people think? Each bar has a defined interior design look different from each other.

  7. Whether its Melbourne, Scandinavian or Brooklyn style, let's just all at least agree that natural light and plants are a nice addition to any design language. I wish people would stop trying to own ideas. Stop obsessing about "appropriation". If you like this style and it's being popularized in one way or another, just celebrate it. If you don't like it, just discuss merits of other designs that you like! Nobody is going to give your home country or city a prize for starting a trend. Nobody cares and nobody should.

  8. Isn't this just how a lot of trendy restaurants and stores look during the 2010s? It's not Instagram, it's a design trend. Like how everything in the late 70s and early 80s looked like a barn.

  9. Idk about Brooklyn, id definitely call the style Scandinavian minimalism. And coffee shops in Melbourne adapted this style decades ago. Starbucks and Instagram sure helped to spread it around but that's not where it started

  10. pleaaase – this is so American-centered… have you ever read about the history of European café culture?

  11. What exactly is the described problem?
    Who is to blame? The bored rich kids carrying their pocket money to the next hipster cafe while instagramming pics & quotes over a fulfilled life experience?

    I am so sad for the time I thought this insight would have any purpose for me, living and gaining knowledge in the field of design, just noticing, that everyone just aims for your attention… if it could be even described as a problem, that all looks the same, then who are we here, bingewatching youtube and taking the even more precious time to comment here. I’m so exhausted with this. And not only that, it also makes me mad. Putting Starbucks and culture in one sentence is so true and at the same time so sad…
    This is America! Again a strike in the same corner as the other world-gobbling culture imprinting operations like shopping and fast food. I do not want to be dogmatic in any way, I just want to find a way out of here… Better go grad some coffee and look outside the stupid window…

  12. these kinds of cafes always make me feel like i'm in a doctor's office. aren't coffee shops supposed to be warm and inviting, cozy??? i will never understand why people like these. i hope minimalist design dies out soon, i can't stand sitting on cold metal chairs anymore!!!!! i want to sit in big comfy, possibly moldy chairs in a nook next to a fireplace!!!!!!!!1

  13. when I have my own house, I would love to have that look in my office/den, vox never fails to bring up topics that I have never thought much about lol

    edit: whoops I mean quartz.. I thought this was vox lol lol lol

  14. so F*cking millenials are to blame for the latte art that does nothing to the coffee except increase its price by at least 200%.

    coffee needs to taste good not look good.

  15. If you just have to give a small big idea that really helps to start a cafeteria in such kind of a place where people really don't understand the concepts like minimalism, simplicity, solitude, peace etc.. what that idea or suggestion it will be ?

    Any comments will be appreciated.
    Thanking you.

  16. One word- Italy

    I agree that it isn't ideal to only have the same looking coffee shops around the world. Unique coffee shops are better and good! 

    But I don't think Starbucks started this at all. I don't have enough research to say where it started but I know it wasn't Starbucks. 

    My point about Italy is that sure there may be a few of these generic coffee shops in the large cities (the touristy ones) but in mid-sized places, there aren't coffee shops like this. Also the sparkling water thing is Italian. Starbucks didn't do this and it's annoying to attribute this to Starbucks!

  17. Poorly informed in terms of history of graphic and interior design, in terms of mobility (people travelling who see the idea and copy it)… Scandinavia, Mexico, Berlin, World traveler's are all major influences in this design.

  18. No different from a small town coffee shop I visited in the 90's east coast USA that was non Star Bucks; and 2003 Oakland, California coffee shop. Not sure what's the fuss.

  19. I believe its caused by globalization. Big cities these days also look all the same. Mc Donald, Starbucks, Uber, etc.

  20. I swear to God these coffee shops cost so much in my country, they all look almost generic at this point, and you can barely differentiate between each shop.

  21. In The Netherlands there’s Coffee Company, a chain that had this look already in 1996. This interior look is more Bauhaus inspired than actually “Brooklyn”. This documentary was so poorly researched… 😳

  22. What Melbourne coffee? When? I thought it was the European migrants that brought it there. There was already an intense café culture in all main European cities more than 150 years ago…

  23. I’m so sick and tired of Australia being swept under the rug for its “invention”. sorry but Australia and Melbourne specifically started this whole trend but y’all only wanna recognise Melrose Avenue and all that bs??

  24. The financial crisis brought everyone back to nostalgia that started 2 years before in Brooklyn? Wtf!?!

    Brooklyn is so lame

  25. I don't go to these places but this is fascinating. When I first seen this design trend I immediately thought of Scandinavian – Sweden, Norway and Denmark minimalist design for residential and office spaces added with indoor plants from vegetarian and DIY indoor garden-kitchen. What Brooklyn, NY originated was the raw bricks and mural paintings. But I hope local coffee shops find there own identities through their commercial spaces to make them authentic and raw than go for a trend.

  26. Starbucks got "their inspiration" from the Meditteranean coffee shops, where people don't grab their coffee & doughnuts then leave. Starbucks never started it, only spread it to the previously come-and-go places established in many places.

  27. It's called the hipster effect where authenticity gets so diluted that everything starts to look the same. That's why coffee shops, hipster, hypbeasts, neighborhoods etc. looks the same

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