This 50-year old low-rise building stands at the end of the dead-end road between the two buildings located at a 3-minute walking distance from Sangenjaya station. Standing in front of the building, one looks up to find a wide-open sky above the city, feeling the luxury of “vacancy” in the urban density. This building had been a residence and a clinic of the original owner, who was the client’s grandfather, and it was also used as a place for his artistic activities including painting in his later years. Considering the location of the site, it was feasible to build a new commercial building or an apartment building here. Yet, we decided to keep this building to create a place loved by the community residents and generate new activities for the community, out of respect for the client and his family’s love and reverence for the grandfather, rather than simply focusing on business profits. Following the completion of the initial renovation completed in March (including the residence on the second floor and the gallery on the first floor), the client decided to recruit another tenant. BLUE BOTTLE COFFEE sympathized with the client’s philosophy, and the seventh cafe of BLUE BOTTLE COFFEE JAPAN was born here.

This long dead-end street extends from the busy shopping street to the quiet residential neighborhood in the backside, and terminates in the garden at the end of the road, a luxurious space in this central location. This shop is designed in such a way that customers will experience the continuation of this deep spatial sequence. Upon entry, customers go to the register at the far end of the dead-end road; stop by the drip-bar; walk around the seating area; and go outside to find a peaceful sight of the tranquil garden that makes them forget about the urban bustle they had just passed through. Then, they walk along the building and finally reach the gallery entrance. Precast concrete floors are laid out along this circulation route, connecting inside and outside and establishing a new relationship between the building and the shopping street.

James Freeman, the Founder of BLUE BOTTLE COFFEE, was inspired by the rough texture of concrete of the original building that had been poured using formwork made of Japanese cedar wood, and remembered the feeling of “esprit rude/ esprit doux”, which he had experienced as a musician. Our space design was born out of this inspiration.

Title: Blue Bottle Coffee Sangenjaya cafe
Architect: Jo Nagasaka / Schemata Architects
Project team: Yui Matsushita, Yasunori Nakano
Location: 1-33-18 Sangenjaya, Setagaya-ku, Tokyo, Japan
Usage: cafe
Construction: TANK
Collaboration: SOUP DESIGN(sign)/ HOSHIZAKI ELECTRIC CO.,LTD.(kitchen)/ WHITELIGHT.Ltd(sound plan)/ 1lux(lighting plan)
Floor area: 99.52m2
Structure: RC
Completion: 10/2017
Open: 10/2017
Photo: Kenta Hasegawa

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