Blue Bottle Coffee expands its footprint in Japan with the addition of the Blue Bottle Coffee Kobe Hankyu Café in Kobe.
The new unit is situated on the ground floor of the Kobe Hankyu department store, which was reimagined by Tokyo-based Keiji Ashizawa Design as a soothing, minimalist point of respite. “Inspired by the five large show windows typical of department stores, a takeout counter was placed on the back wall to open the store to the town with a design by connecting the inside and the outside,” says studio founder Keiji Ashizawa. “Blue Bottle Coffee, which operates all around the world, places great importance on creating local characteristics in their stores. With this in mind, we were inspired by the local people and culture of Kobe.”
A street-facing counter and benches lining the perimeter windows promotes openness across the café, which is also the first in Blue Bottle’s portfolio to use timbers sourced from Kobe Prefecture. “These were made in cooperation with Karimoku Furniture, from drying the materials to manufacturing the furniture,” adds Ashizawa.
The wood that composes curvaceous furniture frames and tabletops is offset by a palette of light blue and yellow tones that also contrast rough concrete floors. From a long communal table to an intimate enclave of sofas and coffee tables, an inviting ambiance permeates the café, accented by custom pendant lights as well.