Saturday, December 5, 2009

"Third places" - coffee shops, tea shops, cafés

Café Delicieux - Cape Town, South Africa

What a joy of life! - A "third place" - coffee shops, tea shops, cafés, etc.

One of the biggest treats in life that absolutely feeds my soul is a "third place"!

What is a "third place?"

The "third place" is a setting beyond home and work (the "first" and "second" places respectively) in which people relax in good company and do so on a regular basis - "Celebrating the Third Place"-Ray Oldenburg 2001, p.2

I did a dissertation project for my finals for my BA (Hons) in Interior Design at London Metropolitan University on "The third place" and "Restoring the third place to the American social fabric." Ray Oldenburg wrote in his book "Celebrating the Third Place" that ever since World War II Americans have been growing further apart from one another. Lifestyles have become increasingly privatized and competitive and residential areas increasingly devoid of communal places. There has been a sharp decline in the number of third places in the United States. I can not agree more! As an interior designer I realize that there is a great need for elegant, warm, cozy "third places" in the United States. Town planners, architects, engineers and interior designers should be giving people what they instinctively like and love and improve the quality of their lives!

"Third Places" or "Great Good Places" are informal public gathering places where people can gather, put aside the concerns of home and work, and hang out simply for the pleasures of good company and some lively conversations. "Third Places" usually occur in cafés, pubs, coffee shops, bookstores, exercise clubs, hair salons, bistros, etc. They are homes away from homes where people drink in the joys of blissful public congregation.

"Third Places" should encourage association, relaxation and community, lounging, loitering and hanging out. I spoke to a dear friend of mine today in South Africa and she told me about Café Delicieux which is situated in the northern suburbs of Cape Town. She said that the warm, calm and relaxed atmosphere is perfect for breakfasts, lunches and high teas. They use the freshest ingredients and serve home made cakes. They offer catering and picnic hampers as well. On my next visit to Cape Town I will definitely visit Café Delicieux because this sounds and looks (by judging the above photograph) like a great "Third Place"!

Café Delicieux can be contacted at:

Succulent Café - Northcliff, Johannesburg, South Africa - Photo by Karla Janse van Vuuren

A few days ago I read in a local newspaper of South Africa on the internet about another great "Third Place" called Succulent Café in Northcliff, Johannesburg. I love the tea cup chandelier (photo above), it is unique and is situated above a table with mosaic artwork made of broken plates. Displayed on this table are beautiful decorated cookies, small carrot cakes, lemon meringue tarts etc.

They serve breakfasts and lunches as well and can be contacted at:

I enjoy tea and coffee at home every day and make it a very special occasion for myself. It really does not take a lot to make a tea or coffee break special at home. We need to treat ourselves! I have a tray in the kitchen with a lace doily......I have a tea pot, milk jar, sugar bowl and tea cup on it. Nothing matches and it does not matter! I use it on a daily basis and it just makes that difference! Whether you have tea or coffee at home....please make it special for yourself. Treat yourself and enjoy the moment!

My daily tea tray at home!

More on the benefits of tea, having a coffee and tea break and "third places" in the near future on this blog!


  1. Oh my goodness! Cafe Delicieux looks like such a heavenly place!If I lived in Cape Town, that would be my "third place"! We should put our heads together and open a "third place" of our own, with you at the helm!

  2. I write in English so everybody can understand. What a delight to scroll through these beautiful tea places! It is so refreshing and I would love just to sit down and be spoiled in one of them. Thanks Ingrid! Keep going, we love this!!!!

  3. Thank you so much Sandi and Selma...I really appreciate you feedback!!



Related Posts with Thumbnails