Keiji Ashizawa Design and Norm Architects were responsible for creating this Blue Bottle Coffee café in Yokohama, Japan. The seats are made of oak, and the cafe has paper yarn-wrapped columns.
That Bottle in Blue
The coffee shop is located in a glass-fronted building in the heart of Yokohama’s busy Minatomirai commercial area and looks out into a green public park.
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This location became an important source of reference for the design company Keiji Ashizawa Design, which is situated in Tokyo and is responsible for the interior design of the café, which is composed entirely of natural materials.
The top picture shows paper yarn being wrapped around the columns of the café. Pictured above is a curving bar that occupies the central position on the floor layout.
“We have tried to create an atmosphere that welcomes the local community by primarily using wood, inspired by the park located by the Blue Bottle Coffee Minatomirai,” said the studio’s eponymous founder, Keiji Ashizawa. “We have used the park located by the Blue Bottle Coffee Minatomirai as our source of inspiration.”
“The structure serves as the primary protagonist of the park, and the use of natural materials in what otherwise seems to be an urban setting creates an atmosphere of warmth and friendliness.”
The cafe’s natural-looking material palette was conceived with the neighbourhood park in mind.
The open floor design of the coffee shop is dominated by a massive half-moon service bar, which is where employees take drink orders and make them. Its base is covered in slats of wood with a lighter tone, while the countertop is crafted from a stone that has flecks of grey throughout it.
In addition, the floor of the restaurant is made of light-colored wood, and its round tables are made of the same material. Additionally, minor ornamental pieces have been crafted out of timber, such as the menu board and a handful of enormous lamps in the shape of rings that have been hung from the ceiling.
Norm Architects were responsible for the design of the seats located throughout the café.
As the day draws to a close, the cafe’s high counter is illuminated by an additional source of light: a cluster of pendant lights in the shape of white spheres.
Braided paper yarn has been looped around the bottom half of the grey support columns that run around the perimeter of the room in order to maintain the natural material palette that has been established throughout the space.
A few of the chairs have upholstery made of light-colored leather.
In order to come up with a variety of seating options for the project, Keiji Ashizawa Design turned to their long-term partners at the Copenhagen-based studio Norm Architects.
The firm designed three different chair models out of Japanese oak wood: a classic chair in the style of a cafe, a tall bar stool, and a dining chair that is slightly more formal and partially upholstered in creamy leather; the low, curving backrest of the dining chair is meant to draw a subtle reference to the cafe’s architecture.
Oak from Japan is used in the construction of the chairs’ frames.
Back in 2019, Norm Architects and Keiji Ashizawa Design had collaborated with Karimoku Case Study on the introduction of its first Kinuta collection. This was the first time the three companies had worked together.
Glass is used for the construction of the cafe’s outside walls.
Frederik Werner, a partner at Norm Architects, noted that when it came to finding a company to collaborate with, “there couldn’t be a greater partner to pair up with than Karimoku.”
“They maintain a focus on the craftsmanship combined with the latest robotics in the manufacturing of wooden furniture, making sure that their philosophy of ‘high-tech, high-touch’ is truly embedded in each piece of furniture that is shipped out of the factory.” “They uphold a unique quality and approach to the manufacturing of wooden furniture.”
Customers are able to spill out into a sitting area located outside.
This Blue Bottle Coffee establishment is one of several in Japan; others may be found in Tokyo, Kyoto, and Kobe, among other cities.
James Freeman established the coffee company in 2002, and its first location was a modest roastery in Oakland, California. Since then, the company has expanded to include a chain of cafes located all around the United States and Asia.
The architectural firm Schemata was responsible for the opening of Blue Bottle Coffee’s first location in South Korea, which took place in the previous year. The coffee shop can be found in the creative district of Seongsu, and its furnishings are spare, with wood furniture and red-brick display plinths as the primary decorative elements.
Photography is by Tomooki Kengaku.
Design: Keiji Ashizawa & Norm Architects
Furniture: Karimoku Case Study
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