Keiji Ashizawa creates Blue Bottle Coffee shop in Kobe department store


Japanese studio Keiji Ashizawa Design has created the interior of the Blue Bottle Coffee shop in Kobe‘s Hankyu department store, taking advantage of its display windows to connect the cafe with the street outside.

The 173-square-metre cafe, which shares the department store’s ground floor with a number of apparel brands, has five large display windows.

To open the coffee shop up towards the street, designer Keiji Ashizawa turned one of the windows into a take-out counter.

Window counter of Blue Bottle Coffee shop in Kobe
One display window was turned into a take-out counter

The remaining window niches were filled with blue built-in seating, creating a splash of colour among the wooden furniture.

Inside the cafe, square-shaped and rectangular furniture nods to the graphic look of the facade and is contrasted by round tables and large circular ceiling lights.

“The furniture is mainly made of domestic wood in collaboration with the Japanese furniture manufacturer Karimoku, who specializes in working with oak wood,” Ashizawa told Dezeen.

Interior of Hankyu Blue Bottle Coffee shop
Wooden furniture and terrazzo tabletops were used for the interior

The studio also mixed in terrazzo amongst the wooden furniture to give the cafe a welcoming feel.

“By placing a large terrazzo tabletop with fine textures created by mixing grounded glass into the material, it adds to the soft and welcoming atmosphere that identifies Blue Bottle Coffee and their hospitality,” Ashizawa said.

“It is also used for the low coffee table surrounded by the sofas, creating a sense of harmony and elegance throughout the space of the cafe,” he added.

While the studio was unable to change the material of the existing rough concrete floor, the department store allowed it to create a discrete demarcation by polishing the floor underneath the central tables.

Terrazzo table inside Blue Bottle Coffee shop
Circular pendant lights were made from raw aluminium

Large disc-shaped pendant lights add a sense of drama to the coffee shop’s pared-back design.

“With the idea of creating a high ceiling within the space, the pendant lights were made from raw aluminum to complement the industrial structures,” Ashizawa said.

“Six pendant lights are placed in the central space at equal distances in three zones, creating a sense of rhythm and spatial balance.”

Polished concrete floor in Blue Bottle Coffee shop
The concrete floor was polished in part of the cafe

The wooden furniture inside the Blue Bottle Coffe Hankyu cafe has mainly been kept in its natural colour, but Ashizawa added bright colour to some of the wood.

“In the space with concrete structures, the yellow color was added to balance the combination of wood and concrete, and the blue color was placed as a contrast,” he said.

“We also designed the space to fit in with the apparel brands that share the ground floor.”

Colourful shelving in Kobe cafe
Shelves were painted a bright yellow

Ashizawa has previously created a number of cafes for the Blue Bottle Coffee company, including a Shanghai store decorated with traditional Chinese roof tiles and a Tokyo outpost with a volcanic-ash counter.

The photography is by Tomooki Kengaku.


Project credits:

Architect: Keiji Ashizawa Design
Project architect: Keiji Ashizawa, Tomohiko Fujishita, Masaru Kiotya
Construction: Tank
Design supervision: Miyachi Office/Kunihiko Miyachi
Lighting design: Aurora/Yoshiki Ichikawa
Furniture: Karimoku Case Study/Ichinomaki Laboratory by Karimoku
Metal works: Super Robot



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