Maker Series: Our Commercial Bay Counters by Critical – Kokako Organic Coffee Roasters

Maker Series: Our Commercial Bay Counters by Critical, and Rethinking Plastic Waste


All photos by Josh Griggs.

To design our 40 square-metre coffee bar within the Commercial Bay precinct we worked with Auckland based Interior Architects CTRL Space and had the opportunity to collaborate with some great minds and creatives. Our space features a natural timber wall alongside a variety of innovative sustainable materials including timber highlights such as FSC Cedar for the wall cladding and window joinery and Stained Ash for our countertops. 

Perhaps the shop's most distinctive feature is the counter cladding manufactured by Auckland based Critical, a circular design studio. Critical produces plastic sheet materials that are similar in appearance to stone composites such as terrazzo. These materials are then used to create plastics for use in interior and furniture design. Our Commercial Bay counter was produced from 100 percent recycled HDPE (High Density Polyethylene) and is made up of approximately 8880 upcycled used 2L plastic milk bottles.   

Rethinking and redesigning plastics requires a whole-of-life approach to better account for the environmental costs of plastic. There is a lot of talk of re-use but at this scale though there are few companies locally doing it. Companies like Critical prove that recycled plastic can be used for household goods in large-scale production — plastic is not waste; it is a resource.

Founded in 2013, Critical operates as a social enterprise focused on achieving environmental sustainability through waste reduction and creating local employment opportunities. Critical run projects that result in physical products — co-creating spaces, products and experiences within their neighbourhood of Mount Roskill.

Beyond providing a truly authentic coffee experience, our Commercial Bay space will showcase innovative thinking, offering alternate views on waste. We hope our counter cladding encourages conversations around waste and the ability to repurpose and promote plastic as a valuable resource. 

Whether you’re on your way to and from work, passing through between meetings, or in the precinct for leisure, we think you’ll find our new space in Commercial Bay to be the perfect stop. For updates, event notifications, such as public cuppings and brewing workshops, follow us on Instagram or sign up to our email newsletter.