I have always described Japan as a country of perfection, from manners to dedication. Visiting Tokyo for the third time, I was not surprised to encounter extraordinary hospitality and a sacred-like coffee preparation. While quality was exceptional in most of the cafes, I was rather deeply moved by the creativity and the design of some coffee shops I came across. Whereas coffee quality is the top priority, cafes in Tokyo go one step further to improve customers’ experience. Japanese minimalistic architecture mixed with Western influences inspired designers and coffee lovers to transform industrial and residential space into impressive designs. This time I focus on eye-catching café designs in Tokyo. Here’s the top five. KI CAFE Hidden one station away from Shimokitazawa, a commercial and entertainment district in Setagaya, Ki Café invites Tokyoites to run away from the crowd to a mesmerizing white forest. Ki Café is a true fusion of modernism and minimalism somewhere in between zen philosophy and urban city. No surprise that this little coffee shop has made to top 10 best designed …
In this simple, pure space a guest can savour his coffee and let his mind flow in tranquility. The minimalism culture that had been nurtured in Japan since ancient times has adapted modern influences in Tokyo. Ki Café is a true fusion of modernism and minimalism somewhere in between zen philosophy and urban city. Hidden one station away from Shimokitazawa, a commercial and entertainment district in Setagaya, Ki Café invites Tokyoites to run away from crowd to a mesmerizing white forest. Ki (木) means ‘tree’ in Japanese and details of it can be seen around the shop. While most of the design magazines describe Ki as cafe with an abstract tree theme, it is much more than that. According to the owner, Yuko, the main inspiration is ‘white’, which spreads tranquility and at the same time invites to reach a mental state of no-mind (無心). At the entrance, you will be asked to take off your shoes as if you enter a sacred space. There is no music in the background. No excessive details either. …
The Curioisity presents you one more minimalist house project by Japanese architects – Koya No Sumika. Japanese design company mA-style Architects designed the unique space with a roof as a series of V-shaped frames. Small attic space is divided by a triangular roof at this house extension that creates a spacious and bright atmosphere.
“It is rather the building fits our lifestyle than we fit the building.” – with this kind of approach Takeuchi family designed a space where they can live every day with happiness and inspiration. The aesthetic world of two people are not shut between white walls. They are a big part of community through a cup of morning coffee and a love for art. The space is a combination of studio, cafe, living space and even museum, which they recall as ‘Museum of Art’.
The most famous Japanese ‘No Brand Quality Goods’ company, MUJI, cooperating with Japanese architects created a spacious design house in Tokyo. The house itself looks like a small and narrow building from the outside, but thanks to to clever solutions applied by MUJI, the design fascinates with its light and airy space.
Even if most of us quietly blame Starbucks for being too capitalistic mass production and materialising the precious coffee culture, that is where we go first if quick refresh caffeine needed. In cities like London a great number of independent coffee shops is rapidly growing and Londoners will rather choose their cup of joe in there. However, Starbucks does not seem even a little bit less crowded no matter where it is located. In Japan the image of Starbucks has still not been conquered by local coffee shops. With its great popularity, it is a place of relax, study, meeting and one of those rear places for free Wi-Fi around Japan. Sometimes Starbucks’ ‘fast coffee’ space with just stools and tables transforms into artistic design space. Here is the list of 3 stores in Japan that particularly stand out of the crowd with their uniqueness.
One of the favourites of simple, modern and esthetic design, Tato (タト), is a fine example of modern interior decorating. Japanese based architecture office currently have had projects only domestically but there is a huge potential for international expansion as Tato designs are being introduced in English publications. The main architect, Yo Shimada, said: “I keep trying to create freedom in rooms as if all of [the furniture] is just randomly placed and used by chance”. His interior design is a combination of minimalism, wabi-sabi and a touch of Scandinavian design. White clean surroundings, spacious rooms and a lot of bright wood – that is the combination that prevails in all Tato projects.
Colourful and sometimes outrageous Kansai Yamamoto’s collection used to amaze fashion lovers in 70s and 80s. HIs designs as well as shows always combine culture with fashion and entertainment. Most well-known costumes for David Bowie in 1973 and spectacular shows have included his name in one of the greatest and iconic contemporary designers list of that time. Kansai Yamamoto launched his first collection in London in 1971. Later on it was called as ‘The Show of the Year… a spectacular coup de theatre’ and Yamamoto has became famous with his avant-garde designs on international scale.