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A part of every neighborhood story: Starbucks uses local art in cafes

Updated: May 16

The Starbucks Cafe stories

Starbucks cafes tell a story through its own unique art and design, created in collaboration with artists from nearby communities. From thoughtfully working with local artists who share similar values, to ideating designs and finding creative new ways to bring Starbucks mission and values to life, the Starbucks design stores reflect the distinct personality of the surrounding neighbourhoods.

Starbucks partnered with EkiBeki to source the histories of local communities and neighbourhoods. Together with the indigenous artists on our team, we created Starbucks Cafe murals that are as unique as the environment around it.

Together, we honoured the timelessness of local artworks, while giving the art and the artisans a new perspective to the traditional ways.

Work in progress- Lippal art in Starbucks Ahmedabad
Work in progress- Lippan art in Starbucks Ahmedabad

Starbucks Cafe murals

As a part of Tata Starbucks India's global art program, the HongKong design team has been working with artists and store deign teams across the country.

Considering the rich art and craft heritage of India, they wanted to use local craft to narrate coffee stories for their new store launches in the cities of Indore and Bhopal, located in the heart of the country, Madhya Pradesh.

No two cafes are alike, EkiBeki used chikankari in Lucknow, to Gond, Zardosi and Bagh handblocks in Madhya Pradesh.

Coffee Botanicals, Gond art in Starbucks Indore, Madhya Pradesh

The Gond tribe is one of the largest aboriginal/tribal communities in India. These tribals live in Madhya Pradesh, Telangana, Bihar, Maharashtra, Odisha, and Andhra Pradesh. The main occupation of the Gond tribe is agriculture or daily wages.

Gond paintings are basically the fascinating work of lines which are created with utmost precision and perfection. Lines are used in such a way that it conveys a sense of movement to the still images. Thus, patterns of dots and lines are added to enhance the details. While a majority of Gond paintings are inspired from nature, the artists also showcase various legends, scenes from daily lives, and also express their world view in their art. 

The Gond tribe believes that seeing a good image brings lots of good luck to them. Hence Gond tribal paintings are made on various festivals, rituals, and ceremonies such as Diwali, Karva Chauth, Nag Panchami, birth, marriage, etc.

EkiBeki has been working with Gond artisans Choti and Santosh Tekam for over 6 years. They both are fine Gond artists who love to create images of nature, birds and animals from their vivid imagination and bring in a contemporary touch to their work of art. 

Due to the Covid-19 lockdowns, this project was created remotely, this also gave a much-needed relief to the artisans. The concept was to use 3D coffee botanicals in laser cut wood on the wall.  The production of the wood pieces was done by the local contractor and sent to the artisans for Gond art painting. EkiBeki worked on all the designs with required color story to be hand painted on the wooden cutouts and coordinated with the artisans, helping and guiding them in the entire process of creation.

While Gond art uses bright primary colours we had to balance it with the Starbucks brand colors, whilst keeping the colors vibrant and celebratory. The warmth of the wood and vibrant colors from Gond art perfectly balanced each other and gave birth to a spectacular wall mural installed at the Starbucks café at Indore, Madhya Pradesh, India.

Bagh handblock printing, Starbucks Bhopal, Madhya Pradesh

On the other hand, at the Bhopal Starbucks café our Bagh artwork has adorned the space and captivates the viewers. Bagh or ‘Thappa Chapai’ is a wooden block printing technique practiced in a small village called Bagh in Madhya Pradesh. The wooden blocks used are hand carved by the artists and the motifs are typically inspired by architectural geometry or the surrounding beauty of nature. The designs are then hand printed in natural colors of red and black over white cotton or silk cloth.

This age old and labor-intensive craft has been practiced by the migrant’s family of Khatri artisans for centuries. The craft involves various process starting with washing the cloth in the river water, drying under sun, dying and boiling in several natural pigments, further washing and drying, and then finally printing the fabric using hand carved wooden blocks, some of which could be generations old.

EkiBeki’s Bagh artwork at Starbucks Bhopal Cafe has been made on hand spun Maheshwari cotton cloth from Rehwa Society with its characteristic golden zari border. The inner borders have been created using the traditional blocks of Bagh printing and the artwork in red and black has been created using wooden blocks especially crafted by the artisans based on the design brief.  

Our designs speak confidence to the viewer; creates a source of sustained income for our artisans and rebrands traditional crafts and its aesthetics bringing joy to the walk-in customers.

Zardosi, Arera Colony, Bhopal, Madhya Pradesh

Lippan kaam in Prahladnagar Starbucks, Ahmedabad in Gujarat

Lipan art (sometimes spelled as “Lippan” and known in English as Mud and Mirror Work) is a traditional mural craft of Kutch, Gujarat, India. Lippan or mud-washing using materials locally available in the region like mixture of clay and camel dung keeps the interiors of the houses cool.

 Though the work is limited mainly to the interior walls, it can be found on the outer walls as well. These scintillating murals bring life, gaiety, and beauty to a generally harsh life of people of Kutch.

Brass cut work, Unizar Starbucks Ahmedabad

Brass cutting work is practised in Mehrana, Gujarat. The inspired wall in the Starbucks Ahmedabad is an ode to the traditions.

Bandhani Baroda

Rogan Art, Surat, Gujarat

Rogan painting, is an art of cloth printing practiced all over Gujarat, India. The craft nearly died out in the late 20th century, with rogan painting being practiced by only a few families in Gujarat.

In this craft, paint made from boiled oil and vegetable dyes is laid down on fabric using either a metal block (printing) or a stylus (painting). 

The process of applying this oil-based paint to fabric began among the Hindu And Muslim Khatri's, a community in Gujarat. Although the name, rogan (and some of the traditional designs) suggests an origin in Indian culture, there are no reliable historic records to prove this. The word 'Rogan' comes from Persian, meaning varnish or oil.

Copper Enameling, Maker Max City, BKC, Mumbai

Copper enamel, or the ancient meenakari, is a near extinct craft of fusing glass colours onto copper surfaces. This craft is practiced in a small village in Alibag, Maharashtra, and there are currently two families who retain the lore, 15 artisans who ply the craft.

The glass powder is laid onto the copper surface in the required patterns, and the assembly is heated to melt the glass to form an enamel coat on the copper surface. The enameling lends a vibrant colour to the copper surface, and prevents oxidising.

Say hello to our siren at Jioworld Starbucks, BKC Mumbai

Fulkari, Ranjit Avenue, Amritsar. Malhar Road, Ludhiana, Punjab

Chikankari, Starbucks Lucknow, U. P

The technique of creation of a chikan work is known as chikankari. Chikan is a delicate and artfully done hand embroidery on a variety of textile fabrics like muslin, silk, chiffon, organza, net, etc.


White thread is embroidered on cool, pastel shades of light muslin and cotton garments. Nowadays chikan embroidery is also done with colored and silk threads in colors to meet the fashion trends and keep chikankari up-to-date. Lucknow is the heart of the chikankari industry today and the variety is known as Lucknowi chikan.


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