Located right in between Shibuya and Ebisu stations, is an old municipal housing complex just next to the Hikawa shrine. The ground floor of this building is the first outlet of craft sandwich brand, GRAIN BREAD AND BREW. The client is a drinkware maker, with many supporters from cafes and shops, both domestic and overseas. After traveling all over the world and being exposed to many different cultures, they wanted to express and share these experiences in the form of a sandwich as their new business.
After the initial discussion with the client about their business concept, it was just six months until they proposed the potential location, but I remember feeling thrilled about this space, which has a lot of history to it. We decided to focus the shop design on the term “grain”, and expand our concept from there. Like the way that bread, coffee, and beer are created from a grain (or bean), we wanted to express this process and texture in our design.
Starting with the ground outside, and continuing into the shop, and even the counter, all the way to the countertop, are covered in fine gravel. We wanted to create a façade that is one of a kind, and which cannot be overlooked. The location of the shrine right next door in fact, had some influence in our selection of this particular material. As if you are being called towards the entrance path of Hikawa shrine, the image of being naturally guided into the shop by going up the few steps, was a key focus point to our design.
The standing area takes up about 1/3 of the shop entryway, but it is a space where customers can enjoy a conversation with the barista. With a cup of coffee during the day, or a glass of beer at night, to accompany the delicious sandwiches, it is quite easy to relax in this casual environment. Further inside the shop are more steps, and customers are now at eye level with the kitchen area. You can see how each of the sandwiches are created, almost like you are hanging out in the kitchen with some good friends.
As you enjoy the various sandwiches for which the ideas have been inspired by countries all over the world, take a look back towards the entrance of the shop and you will see the ever-changing scenery of Shibuya’s residential streets, framed in the shop doorway beyond the counter. It’s almost as if you are in a café, someplace out of the ordinary.