Continuing his fascination with the most rudimentary of building materials – the Kapla-like wooden block – Kengo Kuma has completed what is probably the world’s most idiosyncratic Starbucks Coffee in Tokyo.
The architect explains that location determined his unusual approach, which is reminiscent of traditional carpentry. The Starbucks is situated on the street that leads to Dazaifu Tenmagu, a shrine dedicated to a Japanese deity. Kuma says he did not want the cafe to appear detached from its setting.
Kuma used 6cm square blocks, which he suspend while giving them a functional role as part of the ceiling support. The blocks intersect obliquely, suggesting branches in a forest. The architect wanted to suggest that Starbucks is nestling in a tree. The best reason for using wooden blocks, Kuma adds, is that they are recyclable. ‘You can dismantle the building and reassemble it somewhere else,’ he says.
Photos courtesy Kengo Kuma