Arashiyama, Kyoto – This area is known for its history and scenic beauty, especially the bamboo forests which surround the Togetsu-kyo Bridge spanning Katsura River. Located a little ways from the main tourist area, ARABICA’s second location can be found along the Katsura River amongst the many traditional Japanese restaurants here. For the renovation of this one-story arbor, I was asked to duplicate some aspects of its original location in Higashiyama. As it is a coffee roaster shop, I was asked to include in the design an espresso machine, coffee bean stockyard, and a showroom for the coffee roaster.
I looked to the natural beauty of Arashiyama for inspiration. I wanted to highlight the characteristic roofing and flooring of Japanese architecture. I wanted to bring the outside scenery indoors by including sliding glass doors; to enjoy the feel of the four seasons from inside the shop. These were the thoughts going through my head as I considered the surrounding landscape and architecture. I decided to include the glass wall to give a feeling of openness. By doing so, one is conscious of being on display to the outside, and also so that one can enjoy the beautiful view from within the shop.
The single canopy serves to give the architecture a floating image, and as the frame to a panoramic view of the scenery. The placement of the coffee bean cellar on the northern wall is key in maintaining the ideal temperature and humidity for the carefully selected beans from all over the world. The cellar also reinforces the foundation of the shop which has undergone multiple renovations over the past 40years. The terraced entrance, which is slightly raised from the ground, guarantees an unobstructed view of the surrounding scenery.
This construction also prevents flooding from heavy rains which are common in this area. One part of the foundation is extended out to be used as a bench. The counter is placed so that the barista has an exceptional view of the scenery while preparing the coffee. The white marble counter extends through the glass wall, and can be used like a bar top for outdoor seating. I imagined the gesture of preparing each cup of coffee to be a unique and unforgettable experience, just the way the Togetsu-kyo Bridge looks against its surrounding landscape.