This cafe in Shibuya, Tokyo, of Japanese studio Keiji Ashizawa Design, features brick-like tiles with a volcanic ash glaze created by Formafantasma and textured concrete walls.
Located a short walk from the bustling metropolitan area of Tokyo, this Blue Bottle cafe station is conceived as an urban haven located between two parks.
Coffee is served during the day, and natural wine is served in the evening.
Keiji Ashizawa Design, who also designed the Yokohama coffee station’s outpost, wanted to create a warm and cozy interior that brought the park’s surroundings into a space with glass walls and concrete floors.
“It was a challenge to come up with a playful interior in this square two-story building,” Ashizawa told Dezeen.
“The second challenge was to establish connections between the first and second floors, and the exterior and interior space.”
To get outside, the studio has installed a large, curved tile counter that wraps around the cafe’s kitchen area and greets customers as they enter.
The brown tiles – developed in collaboration with London-based material manufacturer Jack and the Formafantasma design studio in Amsterdam – are finished with a special glaze of volcanic ash.
One qualified craftsman laid more than 7,000 tiles in the cafe. Like the counter, they cover a low coffee table and a wall in the upstairs living room. Ashizawa said the tiles were specially selected to connect the interior and exterior space.
“We wanted an object like a park as a key material that stands out in the interior, but at the same time creates a strong connection between the first and second floors, and the exterior and interior at the same time,” Ashizawa explained.
“I thought this tile, which has a brick-like color, is an object reminiscent of parks in Japan,” he continued.
“Also, there is the fact that the soil from volcanic ash is a known material in this region of Kanto, and I remember that the soil of the original Kitaya Park was also a can of clay.”
On the ground floor, Blue Bottle Coffee tables are set at different heights. A high counter with chairs allows customers to watch the barista prepare coffee, while the lower table provides a good view of the park.
Upstairs, several types of seating have been installed, including a lowered floor area with banquet seats upholstered in autumn orange textiles. This space can be separated from the main area by a gray transparent curtain.
An oval dining table is located in the center of the space, providing a casual and shared dining area. A high table with a light like a library allows quiet groups and singles to sit at the back of the space.
At the end, a low tiled table is surrounded by comfortable loungers and sofas upholstered in muted pink fabric.
Textured, sanded plaster was applied to the ceiling of the cafe on the ground floor, and over the wall on the first floor to improve the acoustics in the space.
“When planning cafes or restaurants, it’s necessary to think about acoustics,” Ashizawa said. “It’s important that you can speak easily and hear the music comfortably.”
“When we first saw the condition of the interior – the floor is made of concrete with glass walls. We definitely thought we should leave the ceiling some kind of texture that enhances sound absorption. At the same time, I thought it creates a sense of touch in the space would have a relaxing effect customers in the stressful city of Shibuya, like the greenery of a park. “
“We hope that visitors will enjoy the warm atmosphere as if they were invited to visit the welcome house of a close friend,” he concluded.