Inclusion, sustainability, and coffee: Polestar and Oatly’s silent baristas

Resembling a public living room, the coffee shop is a place for discussion and relaxation. It’s a place of inclusivity where everyone is welcome. Which was the entire idea behind Shanghai’s Silent Barista project.

Barista wearing face mask with Polestar logo and apron with the Oatly logo.

China is home to 27.8 million people who suffer from hearing loss. Whether completely deaf or hard of hearing, these disabilities create significant challenges to those affected. Oatly, the Swedish oat drink brand recognised the struggle of people living with hearing disabilities and decided to do something about it. So, back in 2020, they started the Silent Barista initiative in Shanghai: an officially certified barista training program for the deaf community.The project trains people with hearing disabilities to become professionally certified baristas as well as finding a job through Oatly’s network of baristas. The program has produced results, with graduates gaining both full and part-time employment in coffee shops around China. In 2021, the program even received a public welfare award. Like Polestar, Oatly holds sustainability as one of their core company values. And as the Silent Barista project shows, Oatly aligns with our philosophy of inclusion. Therefore, a collaboration made sense.On the 25th of September this year, Polestar China and Oatly hosted a Silent Barista Project. Staff-members of Polestar and Polestar owners were treated to coffee by the hearing-impaired baristas, who were on hand to discuss topics such as the right concentration of a ristretto, while also teaching the basics of sign language. By prioritising inclusivity, we can inspire one another. And if we can combine this with a cup of coffee, then all the better.


Large industrial orange pipes in old courtyard

Milan is the centre of the design universe (again)

With machine learning exhibitions, anti-smartphone throwbacks, and a giant brutalist orange lavatory, Milan Design Week is always one of the most sought-after tickets on the cultural calendar. Designs first seen on these well-trodden streets inevitably filter down into your homes, wardrobes, and, yes, even cars. As any good creative will tell you, if you want to see what’s coming next in the world of design, you must first start in Milan. We join Nargess Banks for this year’s must-see attractions at Salone del Mobile and Fuorisalone.