Text description provided by the architects. Following the flagship café Coutume rue de Babylone in Paris opened in 2011 and the coffee cart within the Finnish Institute in Paris in 2013 both designed by CUT architectures, we’ve been invited to develop the first café Coutume abroad, in the heart of Tokyo in the Aoyama district.
Our aim was to keep the strong identity we created for the Coutume brand while adapting it to the Tokyo location.
At the crossing between a Parisian coffee shop and a laboratory, Café Coutume Aoyama offers a two sided space: On the entrance side the laboratory is set-up under a white hygienic grid ceiling with integrated LED panels lighting up the bar. The bar and cashier is composed of two tiled blocks referring to the chemistry boards. On the other side, the seating area is set under the hollow version of the bar ceiling: white lacquered frames in continuity with the ceiling grid of the laboratory area.
The entire flooring is made out of oak parquetry using different layouts: Chantilly layout in front of the bar, Hungarian layout on the way to the restrooms, traditional layout for the seating area. A single tile is integrated within the parquetry in front of the bar, echoing with the treatment of the custom-made tables of the seating area.
The wall base of the interior walls as well as on the exterior façade is clad with white tiles up to 1m creating a continuous line surrounding the entire space both inside and outside.
On the street side another block made of tiles and glass is hosting a roasting sampler, high stools and small Japanese plants. Behind the bar, a translucent glazed wall hiding the kitchen integrates glass shelves for display.
In the back, a large communal table with a large planter offers ten seats under an illuminated printed glass volume.
Following the ceiling grid the hanging lights are made out of ceramic lamp holders and Japanese tubular bulbs. One the surrounding walls vintage French ceramic bathroom fixtures are combined with oak sticks to create coat hangers and holders for the mobile lamps used by the workers during the construction of the café.