Text description provided by the architects. This project is located in Tokwawan, Hong Kong. Similar to the other aging urban districts, the demolition and renewal of the area have begun since the connection of the subway in recent years. The cafe sits on the boundary between a recently completed development and an old neighborhood. The design of the project is set against the backdrop of this peculiarly contrasted environment.
The new development includes streets imitating the mood of Japanese alleys, bizarrely enough, with several residential towers emerging above. It appears to be even more intriguing that the project location is in the back alley surrounded by the old neighborhood in Tokwawan. The overall setting is remarkably similar to a themed drama scene.
Under the incongruity of the surrounding context, the design imagined and constructed a fictional world in reality between the iconic shopping mall and back alleys.
The Alien Tanuki, a group of yellow raccoons, and the pure white space capsule inhabited by them have experienced time travel and appeared here unexpectedly. Without being influenced by the gravity of the Earth, those yellow raccoons from outer space can move around weightlessly inside the pure white space capsule created by the architect. Some of them are taking a rest among different kinds of plants, some are keeping their original habits and exploring the place, some are probing out of the holes on the ceiling (or possibly the inverted ground), and some are standing still like humans and giving visitors high fives.
When human beings from the Earth enter this white space capsule, they are surrounded by funnel holes diffusing mysterious light. The ground and walls tinted with a light lake blue color give a sense of minimalist futuristic. Accompanied by the Alien Tanuki and greenery, visitors can enjoy a cup of coffee made by the barista, while experiencing the detached sensory from the contrasting duality of surroundings.
Visitors are extracted and isolated momentarily from reality, together with the Alien Tanuki, observing the world silently in the space capsule.
The architect embraced a narrative approach rather than traditional design strategies in the spatial design of the cafe.
The bar table and seating area are shaped with curved white bricks, while some of the seats are made with fiberglass to imitate the white bricks to reduce the bulkiness. The whiteness of the space capsule brings an empty canvas bridging the contradicted neighborhood context.
The funnel skylights of various sizes are fabricated by CNC technology, from where soft diffused light emanates a tranquil ambiance.
The Alien Tanuki, which is made by 3D modeling and printing technology, is not merely a piece of art but also a hybrid of artistry, architectural ornament, and spatial defining object.
These yellow raccoons with different gestures are positioned in discrete locations weightlessly, directing the focus on the design details of each part. The raccoon figures and cafe layout integrate the entire spatial design concept and narrative and interrupt the general perception of the exhibition space and artwork.