Black Diesel

Client: Sur La Table
Location: Ann Arbor, Michigan
Size: 1,700 sf


A vision for a family-friendly, neighborhood café with exceptional coffee and home-made gelato is the very reason why Black Diesel was founded. To help it stand out in a town filled with coffee houses, the design goal was a sophisticated place to cultivate the interaction of local residents and a space that identifies with Southeast Michigan’s manufacturing culture.


The interior’s calm environment was created with dark colors, warm wood, retro lighting and bold use of industrial materials such as concrete, steel and used automotive parts. Custom-designed features include automotive header pans that reflect light up and an engine block cylinder core that holds sugar, lids, stirring sticks, napkins, and silverware.


Designed around the pick-up counter, a community seating area helps spur conversation and encourage interaction and the barista station’s shiny, chrome Simonelli espresso machine mimics a vintage car (true to the Black Diesel brand). The transformed outdoor seating area showcases deep seating, large tables with tall planters and cantilevered shade umbrellas to protect patrons from the high-volume traffic, busy intersection.


“My heartfelt appreciation goes out to the O|X Studio team for creating a distinctly, unique café environment for my family, associates, and the Ann Arbor community. From the design concept to delivery and all the details in between, O|X made it a phenomenally enjoyable experience.”

-Nicholas Ferris, Sur La Table

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