Who would have thought that Blue Bottle Coffee, one of the famous coffee shops, would open its new branch on the ground floor of a department store in Kobe. The 173-square-meter café is unique in that Keiji Ashizawa designed it by utilizing five large and long display windows to connect the inside of the café with the street outside. On the outside of the shop is a blue bottle logo as an identifier, indicating that the building is a coffee shop. Then there is a canopy on each large window as sun shading so that the hot sunlight during the day does not directly enter through the window glass.
"Instead of using that window as a showcase window, I thought it was possible to create a store that opens up to the city by connecting the interior and exterior design, and proposed using an existing show-off window to create a counter while considering the take-out-looking interior and kitchen overlooking the street," Keiji Ashizawa said.
Blue Bottle Coffee is a coffee shop first opened in 2017 in Oakland, California, by James Freeman. Thanks to perseverance and a strong brand identity, it has opened branches in countries such as Japan, China, Hong Kong, and South Korea. At the coffee shop branch in Kobe, with five large windows maximize the natural lighting. As for the night, the large disc-shaped chandelier adds a sense of drama to the simple design of the coffee shop.
By the tagline of this coffee shop, "We design artful and engaging spaces to be paired with your favorite coffee", the Blue Bottle brand is translated by Keiji Ashizawa through shades of blue in the built-in sitting area visible from the front window. In addition, the two-seater sofa placed around the square terrazzo table is also made low to give a harmonious impression when the visitors enjoy a cup of coffee. The dark blue touch on the sofa gave life to the entire pale building. This blue color also presents a splash in the middle of the color of the wooden furniture and maintains the character of Blue Bottle Coffee. The play of colors and materials on the furniture can give a breather to the interior of Blue Bottle Coffee.
"The floor in this coffee shop uses rough concrete floors. Round tables and sofas enhance the impression of the floor by simply polishing the concrete underneath. Not to mention the texture and color of the oil and skin, and some of the wooden sills are bright yellow. This allows the texture to be conveyed and the wood grain to be slightly transparent and adjust the overall tone and feel," explains Keiji Ashizawa. The spatial arrangement applied in this design is by the concept of a café in general. Namely, a bar is equipped with various chair tables such as circular, linear, and square. Visitor circulation forms a network pattern, namely, the movement of people in all directions to seating points.
The furniture used in the interior arrangement of Blue Bottle Coffee is in the form of chairs and large tables, ready-to-use products from the Karimoku Case Study, and sofas from Ishinomaki Kobo by Karimoku. When viewed at close range, a circular floor pattern marks the round table area with four chairs. Although it seems simple, Keiji Ashizawa still pays attention to the details of each interior element.
Another uniqueness can be seen in the iconic shelf always present in every branch store. It looks like a shelf, in general, with proper functioning. The glass cups are neatly arranged, along with some coffee-making utensils and goodie bags. All items are labeled with a blue bottle logo. Blue Bottle Coffee never fails to implement its product image into the interior design of every branch in different countries. That is the strength of this brand to survive until now.
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