Coffee by Design

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Downriver from the part of town real estate people call the Marigny Triangle, there seems to be a Coffeehouse Cluster under development.

In addition to Cafe Flora on Royal, Sound Café a few blocks away on Chartres and Marigny Perks on Burgundy, the latest entry is the Orange Couch (2339 Royal St., 267-7327).

The coffee we had here was good, as were the baked goods we tried, and a freezer case is stocked with mochi, or balls of Japanese ice cream encased in sweet rice flour and meant to be eaten by hand.

So there are some different things going on here. But what really makes Orange Couch stand out in a crowded field is the look and ambiance of the place. Just look at those modernistic tables. They make me want to sit up straight and write something serious, if not technical. Maybe design a new Apple application or a carnival float.

The design comes courtesy of Ammar Eloueini, founder of the architecture firm AEDS. He gets commissions for French museums and high-end Berlin retailers. So what's he doing designing a coffee shop in the Marigny? It turns out he's friends with Orange Couch proprietor Johnnie Sanders, a Marigny resident who opened the place as his first business last week. Eloueini has been teaching at Tulane's architecture school since Katrina.  Note to self: make friends with an internationally-recognized architect before opening a coffeeshop.

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