The black stuff on wheels: possibilities for street commerce


The Cherniy Cooperative that recently opened a cafe in the Tsiolkovskiy bookstore has launched a cycling coffee shop, which will move around the city, pedalling espressos in different areas of Moscow. The creators of the project talked about how this idea was developed and why a “cycling coffee-shop” would help to reveal and resolve the city’s current problems.

Faced with several challenges when trying to bring this idea to life, the cooperative turned to the Moscow city department for trade and services for help. The solutions they found together could well influence the future development of street commerce and public spaces in Moscow. The team from the Yunaya architecture bureau that developed the coffee shop model also spoke about their work on the project and the future possibilities of using similar constructions.

In 2013, an ambitious group of young people calling themselves “The Cherniy Cooperative” set up an eponymous coffee shop inside the Tsiolkovskiy bookstore in Moscow’s Polytechnical museum. The cooperative is an almost forgotten form of labour organisation that allows its members to work together on equal terms, distributing income between them and rejecting standard employment models. The term also implies that they are doing everything themselves and all the decisions have to be agreed upon by everyone.