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Inside the Design of the new Yellow Bee Market and Cafe

Updated: Jul 2

Yellow Bee is a new grocery shopping experience in the Pacific Northwest with its innovative concept of compact supermarkets + cafés. Targeting urban neighborhoods with high populations of young, busy professionals, Yellow Bee offers convenient access to grab-and-go hot foods and a fresh grocery selection, all within a vibrant and inviting atmosphere. 

Founded by Brian Hoang, a seasoned grocery executive with a background in the renowned Hong Kong Market supermarket chain, Yellow Bee is committed to meeting the evolving needs of urban customers. The store provides a compact yet comprehensive supermarket experience, featuring a wide range of traditional grocery items alongside grab-and-go hot food options, catering to the convenience of busy urban dwellers. 

Yellow Bee's concept fills a gap in the market for premium compact supermarkets in urban areas, aligning with the trend of mixed-use developments and the demand for a more integrated shopping experience. 


Architect and Interior Designer Dylan Draves discusses this project: 

What is the design concept?   

Playing off the client’s logo, the hexagon shape was used throughout the space at various scales to reinforce the brand identity. From there, we created a palette of exposed concrete, black metal, light wood, and pops of yellow to help create the sleek, urban yet lively space the client desired for his new grocery concept.    


How did you approach the planning to maximize the available space in Yellow Bee Market?

We started with an initial layout from the owner but had to work closely with him to work around columns, window locations, ceiling height and other constraints in the space while still maintaining the functionality and equipment/shelving he needed. Half of the space was double height with over 20ft ceilings, so we kept a close eye on that to make sure we were taking advantage of that as much as possible.  

What were some of the key challenges you faced in designing and planning Yellow Bee Market, and how did you overcome them?  

One of the biggest challenges was laying out the kitchen. Working around the existing columns and making some equipment visible to the public while trying to hide others created particular challenges. We had to go through many iterations to find the one that worked just right and maximized the use of the space.  

The other big challenge was providing ample storage space for additional grocery supplies. To solve this we added custom cabinet doors that double as feature display and signage elements above the grocery cases. This innovative solution provided the client with storage space without sacrificing the aesthetic impact of those elements.  

In what ways does the sleek and urban design of Yellow Bee Market appeal to the target demographic and enhance their shopping experience?  

The design creates a unique shopping and dining destination that is different from other high-end markets and cafes. Customers in urban environments today want to eat and shop in unique settings that are an “experience” with ample opportunities to post on social media. Yellow Bee’s design delivers on this with many unique design features such as the checkout counter, the displays above the cooler cases, and hexagon ceiling panels and lights – all while still providing a space that feels upscale and cohesive.   

How does the layout of Yellow Bee Market contribute to a seamless shopping experience for customers, and what considerations were made in optimizing the space?

The checkout and ordering counter is located at the center of the space so the customer is never far from the counter if they need assistance. In addition, the feature signage is highly visible from the center of the store to help direct customers to their desired destination. We were also careful to maximize the amount of space for products while still maintaining generous walkways and floor space so customers can move around the space with ease.  

Can you discuss the importance of collaboration between the teams in achieving the ideal layout for Yellow Bee Market and its full commercial kitchen?  

Brian Hoang, the owner, was very knowledgeable about how he wanted the kitchen and retail area to be laid out to function efficiently and what equipment he needed. Our role as the architect and designer was to take all of Brian’s requirements and make them work both with the overall design vision for the space and with code and accessibility requirements.  

How does Yellow Bee Market align with your vision for the future of grocery shopping, and what do you hope customers will take away from their experience at your store?  

Grocery stores generally don't have very interesting or innovative designs. They are often purely function driven in their design and have outdated design motifs. Yellow Bee Market will stand out from other small grocers because of its unique design.  

Read more about the founder in this exclusive interview.

Dylan Draves

Dylan Draves is a LEED accredited Architect, Interior Designer and educator, with expertise in multifamily architecture and tenant improvements. Dylan is guided by the principle that good design can positively impact a user’s overall experience, and in essence, make life better. He is most inspired to create spaces where people work and live, whether the goal is to enhance productivity at the office, or to transform a residential unit into a functional home.

At Tiscareno, Dylan applies his expertise in multifamily projects, having worked on Solera, Modera South Jackson, Modera Bel-Red, Leeway, and 14540 5th Ave and 164th Street Apartment in Lynnwood.

Dylan has been an adjunct professor at several universities. He received his Masters of Architecture from Washington University in S. Louis, and his undergraduate degree in interior design from the University of Texas at Austin. He has been published in the Daily Journal of Commerce.

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