It is no secret that the Swiss love coffee. And with some 5'000 km of rails, Switzerland has one of the most dense public transportation systems in the world. Hence, the collaboration among the Starbucks coffee chain and Swiss Federal Railways (SBB) seems like a match made in heaven for many commuters.
Starting in Fall 2013, two InterCity coaches between St. Gallen and Geneva are going to feature fully equipped Starbucks coffee houses. The idea was to create a unique environment for travelers to socialize, work, or simply relax - all the while feeling like at home!
The Swiss pilot is the first such project worldwide, and it is a case study for balancing design and functionality. Since beverage preparation is very much process oriented, the biggest challenge for engineers was to fit the needed technology into the confined space of a rail wagon while maintaining enough space for a comfortable lounge.
The use of a variety of fabrics, leathers, glass panels, wallpapers and even live edge wooden surfaces is supposed to create a comfortable atmosphere for those of us on the move. Each Starbucks rail wagon is going to feature several spaces: The upper deck seating arrangement will be tailored to longer journeys, while the downstairs area will be more suitable for that quick espresso on the go...
"We want to celebrate the attention to detail which the Swiss have in a Starbucks rail car," says Liz Muller, Director of Global Concept Design.
While the recently launched My Starbucks Rewards loyalty program will likely be available, it appears that there are going to be more surprises and unique innovations...
Either way, this concept rail wagon has me convinced that I am quickly going to turn into a regular once Starbucks hits the Swiss rail network!