Whether Britain will continue being a key player in shaping contemporary architecture and design mainly depends on the terms it reaches with Europe. The Shard, a glittering spike of glass soaring into the sky, the new Tate extension, a twisted, off-kilter pyramid are just a few examples of incredible architecture in London. These masterpieces are not only iconic buildings that go to the heart of British identity but they just happen to have been designed by European architects. The rise of modern architecture in the late 20th Century in the UK was greatly fuelled by the open borders. While the world was shrinking, ideas were spreading across Europe. Now it seems like Britain is doomed to travel back in time to isolate itself with thousand of copycat rows of Victorian houses and Prince Charles’ beloved ‘traditional’ architecture. There is no beating about the bush. “Leaving the EU would mean the ‘Guernseyfication’ of the UK, which would then be a little country on the world scale. It would isolate itself and become a trading post …
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. …
Heart-warming cinnamon buns and coffee. Relaxation and deep concentration. Scandinavian minimalism with wisdom of architect Tadao Ando.
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.