What if your daily coffee run became a journey to another world? That’s the question behind the design of Felix Roasting Company’s extraordinary cafés, including two in New York and a fabulous new outpost in Aspen’s Hotel Jerome.
“It’s supposed to be a five-minute respite from reality,” Felix founder Matt Moinian explains. “Whether you’re in the hustle of Manhattan and need a five-minute oasis, or in the middle of Aspen and feel like you were transported to a turn-of-the-century, eclectic coffeehouse.” With sumptuous fabrics, lavish floral wallcoverings, and glittering chandeliers, the 710-square-foot space has a lost-in-time sophistication reminiscent of vintage Paris or Vienna. So, what’s it doing in Aspen?
“Aspen is a magical town,” Moinian says. “On top of being one of the best ski and food and beverage destinations in the world, I got engaged here on the gondola and have always wanted to be part of the community.”
There’s more than a touch of romance woven through the café’s dramatic interiors, designed by San Francisco–based Ken Fulk. “Hotel Jerome has been a landmark in Aspen since its opening in 1889, so we approached the project with reverence for its pioneering spirit while melding the signature all-out romance of Felix Roasting Company,” Fulk explains. “The existing tin ceiling gave us a wonderful jumping-off point for the ﬁnishes, and we kept the millwork throughout.”
Moinian and Fulk honored the building’s authentic features while adding a gloss of nostalgic beauty. “Our Felix color palette of pale pink, deeply saturated verdigris, and copper was inspired by the turn-of-the-20th-century Aesthetic Movement,” Fulk explains. “The wood paneling was given a coat of Farrow & Ball’s Setting Plaster–colored paint, one of the signature colors for Felix.” The custom ﬂoral wallcovering tells a coffee story, too. “During the process of developing the ﬁrst Felix, we tasked ourselves with a design challenge to develop a wallcovering and fabric collection all inspired by the arabica ﬂower, also known as the coffee bean,” Fulk says. “After crafting a dozen patterns, the one that struck us the most was the ﬂoral repeat which now lives on the walls.”
The design team mixed historic and contemporary elements for dramatic results. Sumptuous velvet seating joins classic French bistro tables atop white-oak floors configured in an exploding diamond pattern centered on a brass Felix medallion. Flamboyant, antique Murano glass chandeliers cast a rosy glow overhead. “We love the visual tension that results from layering different eras and aesthetics,” Fulk says. “The delicacy of the Murano glass set against the rusticity of the wood ﬂoors and tin ceiling is an unlikely and intriguing combination.”
Artwork in gilded frames adds to the lavish, eclectic atmosphere. “We blended contemporary portraits by artist Jose Trujillo with our customized historic portraits to make the space feel timeless and as if the works had been collected over generations,” Fulk explains.
“Our customers want something original and authentic with all the extras,” Moinian adds. “Felix means happy in Latin, and we pride ourselves on buying and roasting the beans ourselves with our team.” To give you an idea of the “extra” you’ll find at the Felix, consider one of their signature drinks: the Hickory Smoked S’mores Latte, a sophisticated, caffeinated spin on the old campfire favorite. The decadent drink features double espresso blended with steamed cinnamon- and graham cracker–infused milk served in a martini glass with a rim that’s been dipped in dark chocolate and graham cracker crumbs. A homemade, darkened caramel marshmallow goes on top, and then the entire concoction is smoked with hickory chips in a bell jar.
There’s no denying it’s an exquisite café for a mountain town, but Moinian isn’t worried about wear and tear. “We are built to last!” he insists. “The floors are solid-grade hardwood ready for ski boots and hiking shoes alike—we’re ready for everyone, whether it’s before that hike or après ski.” But even the casual walk-in customer might be transformed by the time-traveling splendor of the space. “The experience can be grabbing a quick cup of coffee or taking the time to get away for a moment as an act of self-care,” Moinian says. “We think beautiful atmospheres should go with beautiful coffees.”
By Laura Beausire I 5280 I October 25, 2021