Swimming Pool Studio bases Shanghai cafe interior on the Mediterranean Sea

A blue- and white-toned colour palette based on the Mediterranean Sea for the Paras Cafe

Shangai, China


Swimming Pool Studio aimed to bring the "relaxing and refreshing" hues of blue sea and white sand to this cafe inside a Shanghai office building.


The Paras Cafe is located in the Hongqiao Vanke Center in Shanghai, a building populated by offices and retail spaces.


Through its design, Swimming Pool Studio hoped to provide staff inside the building with a modern-looking place to relax and socialise.

The team decided on a blue- and white-toned colour palette based on the Mediterranean Sea, along with a modern selection of materials and furniture.


"The design inspiration comes from the amazing scenery of the Mediterranean Sea where blue sea and white sand make people feel relaxed and refreshed," they said.

"Clear features are integrated with modern design philosophy, maintaining the perfect balance through a series of changes and connections."


Inside, blue walls are lined with a grid of square white tiles.

This pattern is broken in places by grey diamond tiles that create the illusion of boxes protruding from the walls – a technique also used by Tomás Alonso for the Camper store in London's Covent Garden.


A giant metal mesh structure hangs from the ceiling above a long wooden table. Other seating areas in the cafe are pushed up against the walls, and a few small circular tables are placed in front of the window.


A second metal mesh structure hangs above a white marble service counter, which is partially covered in a series of coloured tiles that run along the floor from the cafe's entrance.

Round mirrors sit on the tiled portions of the walls, reinforcing the nautical theme.

Shanghai-based Swimming Pool Studio was founded in 2014. The practice has completed a number of projects in Shanghai, including bars, restaurants, shops and office interiors.

Photography by Peter Dixie.


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