A PAGE OUT OF OUR BOOK: David Gillies of Public Space in Blog

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While the world was our oyster for a few brief months in summer, things look a little bit different now. These days, we're finding refuge in cafes more than ever. It's one of the few sanctioned social outings, so why not make it extra special. When we want to treat ourselves to a seriously good cup of coffee, we love popping over to Noord to Public Space. It's chic. It's sleek. And they serve a mean cup of coffee. Really, what more could you want?

We had a chat with Public Space's David Gillies to find out all about one of our favourite coffee spots in town. Keep reading to find out more.

gloobles: Hi David! Thanks for taking the time to chat with us. Could you tell us about what it was like to open Public Space?

David: Public Space just started with our founders (David, Menno, Jacco & Mike) as a bunch of mates. We all worked (& still work in different fields), but we wanted to see how we could do our work together in a sort of creative community. That thought process is still a work in progress, but Public Space was the first step for us. Public Space for us is like the heartbeat of how we stay connected to our neighbourhood, to its people & its culture & the happenings that are taking place around us. We figured if we can try to make this space where we conceptually grapple with what hospitality is, not just its function but also its form & its meaning, then maybe we can create something of us but for everyone. It was all very conceptual. Probably too conceptual. One day, we found ourselves in talks with the space we now know as Public Space. Looking back, we were so in over our heads - but it’s always been like that for us. Our friendship & creativity has always come together best under those pressures. So we pushed on & tried to do the best job we could together with what we had at the moment, & we hope to continue growing & changing with our team & our environment.

gloobles: That's kind of amazing that you could all come together from different walks of life & create something so cohesive. The space itself is quite unique. What was the vision behind the design?

David: At the time, we were pushing ourselves to think about what we wanted to create, & we wanted to put something out there that was authentic to us, that represented what we thought was beautiful, but at the same time was open to interpretation - like no matter who you are, there is room for you. A space that was truly spacious not only in its aesthetic but in its intangibles as well. We believe hospitality is the gift of being welcomed & being served but also being given the space to find yourself. Whatever moment you're in, to be allowed the time to sit with it. Our friend Dan Epstein, whom we met at our local Pizza joint (Kebec), got us in touch with the guys at H.O.P. We worked closely with them over several months on a ridiculously limited budget for the context of the space but managed to put something together that lives out what we wanted to give to our community: a place to slow down and see that everything belongs.

gloobles: You did that very succesfully, we'd say. How would you describe the concept of Public Space to someone who’s never been? What sets it apart from other cafes?

David: Public Space is a place of hospitality. Whatever you need, we try to provide it. If it’s something functional like a quick stop & go, or a place to work we got you. If you are looking to create a moment & spend some time with friends or appreciate great coffee, pastries or food, we got you. We try to meet you where you are at, & I think the most standout thing about us is our authenticity. There just isn’t another place that feels like Public Space does. That authenticity goes into all the details - we do our best to create everything possible rather than curate. Whether that’s with Joey Norman who has worked endlessly to create a distinct coffee style & crafted our oat milk & juice menu or the approach our kitchen takes to seasonality & the sourcing of local produce. It all comes down to us wanting you to have a unique experience that is filled with thoughtfulness & care from us.

gloobles: You can totally feel that in everything you guys do. Do you have a go-to bean?

David: Speciality coffee as a term of use is really referencing the quality value of coffee - it’s trying to step away from commercial grade coffee which has given us that distinct coffee flavour we all know too well. Speciality is about discovering the nuance of the fruit that it comes from, noticing the differences & being excited about all the variety the world has to offer. That being said, we all need our go to coffee. That universal cup that hits right no matter the moment. From day one, our ride or die has been this Brazil natural from Friedhats - it’s rich, chocolatey, nutty & sweet, & though we have changed the way we brew it maybe a thousand times, it always rings true.

gloobles: The end all be all of beans! What’s your favourite order at Public Space?

David: Is there anything more iconic than the good ol’ cinnamon bun & flat white/filter coffee combo? Kristina Larsdotter, who joined us one year into our adventure, brought her own life’s rabbit hole of how to develop pastries that pair exquisitely with coffee. She is inspired by 'lagom', a Scandinavian term used to describe balance. Her cinnamon bun, which is truly iconic, is the perfect representation of this ideal. It’s the perfect balance between savoury & sweet & satisfies like nothing else with a good brew. It’s literally the kind of treat that you can build your day around. Kristina has been making these buns since she developed them for Scandinavian Embassy back in 2013, & now she is producing thousands of them every week for customers & cafes around the city. We couldn’t be prouder of her; to us she is the mother of cinnamon & the OG of buns.

gloobles: That's a title we'd love to have. Jealous! Alright, before we let you go, we'd love to know: where do you see Public Space in ten years?

David: I think the biggest hope I have is that it is still going strong. We are still on our journey of building Public Space into everything we hoped it could be. Much of that is waiting on our neighbourhood being built around us, which is happening as we speak. But if we can get through all that & still be relevant & an important part of the community in a decade, that would be an amazing accomplishment that we would all be very proud of. Beyond that, we want to keep getting involved in different industries & seeing how we can build that creative community to be everything we dream of.