Roman and Williams

Buildings and Interiors


Kava Cafe


578 sq. ft. - New York, NY 2011

Stand on Washington Street between Gansevoort and Horatio in Manhattan’s Meatpacking District and look up. You’ll see the Standard Hotel, and on its top floor, the Boom Boom Room, where the flossy and high-cheekboned sip cocktails and nibble mini truffle grilled cheese sandwiches. Turn around, however, and you get the wafts of espresso and the gleaming decor of the Kava Cafe.

Robin and Stephen wondered why Italian coffee shops have a certain spark that our American versions lack. To inspire their work on Kava, they traveled to Venice and went on a coffee crawl. They saw flipped-up collars and Loro Piana blazers. They heard the roar of Ferraris and the sensual score of ‘La Dolce Vita’. In the end, though, it was the interior of a Chris-Craft boat that struck their fancy, with its shiny wood and “crazy beautiful dashboard”. Making a space that felt like the well made interior of a boat was the inspiration of Kava’s interior.

The Venetian surroundings also inspired the auras and starbursts, which can be found throughout Kava, from the oak burst on the walls, dotted with exposed screws, to the spiraling pattern of the brightly colored terrazzo floor. The auras brought out a Catholic motif, inspiring Roman and Williams to create a space devoted to the religion of coffee. Coupled with the magic that Venice brings to coffee, along with the iconic Ferraris, Kava brings that authentic swagger to New York.


Kava Cafe