Locally produced tiles clad walls and table in Blue Bottle Coffee shop in Nagoya


Japanese studio Keiji Ashizawa Design sourced local materials for the design of Blue Bottle Coffee cafe in Nagoya, Japan, which features tiles across its surfaces and lamps made from pottery plates.

The studio used tiles across the walls, floors and tables of the cafe, which were all produced by local manufacturer Ceramic Olive Bricks.

“This cafe is located in the Chukyo area of central Japan, an area that excels in manufacturing, so we decided to make the most of it,” Keiji Ashizawa Design’s founder Keiji Ashizawa told Dezeen.

Brick walls inside Japanese cafeBrick walls inside Japanese cafe
Tiles cover the walls in this Blue Bottle Coffee cafe in Nagoya

“We used a lot of tiles on the walls this time,” Ashizawa added.

“Inspired by Blue Bottle Coffee’s philosophy of valuing the local, we decided to use tiles that are produced in the Chukyo area,” he continued.

“These tiles are used to cover the structural walls of the building that exist as pillars to create three frames.”

Glazed tiles in cafe by Keiji Ashizawa DesignGlazed tiles in cafe by Keiji Ashizawa Design
A table at the centre of the space is also tiled

As well as cladding the walls in tiles, the studio used them to demarcate seating areas and created a tile-clad table as a centrepiece of the 311-square-metre space.

“We designed the table specifically for the space,” Ashizawa explained. “The tiles used are different from the wall tiles but are from the same tile manufacturer, glazed for easy cleaning.”

View of Blue Bottle Coffee Sakae NagoyaView of Blue Bottle Coffee Sakae Nagoya
Wooden furniture is used throughout the space

“We thought that the cafe, which often serves as a lounge in a large building, needs to have a central space where everyone can remember,” Ashizawa added.

“When deciding to create a large centre table, we thought a tiled table would be both iconic and appropriate for this space.”

Rounded lamps made from potteryRounded lamps made from pottery
Tiling also lines parts of the floor of the cafe

The cafe features wooden furniture throughout and is decorated with rounded wall sconces and pendant lamps made from pottery plates.

“The pendant and wall lamps are made of pottery plates from the same region as the tiles, and are also used as tableware in the store,” Ashizawa said.

“The surface gives a soft, diffused light, where the light hitting the slightly uneven edges of the plate adds a touch of craft.”

Light above counter in Nagoya cafe by Keiji AshizawaLight above counter in Nagoya cafe by Keiji Ashizawa
Above the counter is a brass lamp that references Nagoya Castle

In addition, the studio drew on a local monument for the interior design. Above the main tiled table, a mobile adds an extra decorative touch.

“The lighting on the counter finished in brass colour was created in homage to the famous ornaments on the top of Nagoya Castle,” the designer said.

“The mobile that looks like a tree branch was designed by an architect friend who also designed the Blue Bottle Coffee Fukuoka cafe,” continued Ashizawa.

“Depending on how the light hits, it appears as if it is a lighting fixture. The delicate mobile, named In the Sky, made of brass subtly defines the place and creates a charming atmosphere.”

Mobile above table in coffee shopMobile above table in coffee shop
A slim mobile hangs above the main table

The interior has an earthy colour palette with pink-coloured tiles.

“The elegant pink color of the tiles, the gray floor and walls, added with the natural wood and textiles of the furniture were chosen to work in harmony with one another,” Ashizawa said.

Exterior of Chunichi Building in NagoyaExterior of Chunichi Building in Nagoya
The cafe is located in Nagoya’s Chunichi Building

The Chunichi Building, in which the cafe is located, is a well-known Nagoya landmark that was formerly a theatre and now houses a hotel. This also influenced how Ashozawa thought about the design of the space.

“The cafe was conditioned to be on the ground floor of the building that is familiar to the locals with its historical existence and the newly constructed hotel floors,” he said.

“I had the inspiration to somehow add value to the place by making it not just a cafe, but more of a lounge space in a hotel that provides a sense of comfort.”

Coffee shop in Nagoya by Keiji AshizawaCoffee shop in Nagoya by Keiji Ashizawa
The Blue Bottle Coffee shop is the seventh designed by Keiji Ashizawa

This is the seventh Blue Bottle Coffee cafe designed by Keiji Ashizawa Design, with others including a shop in Shanghai’s Qiantan area with a glazed facade and another in Kobe’s Hankyu department store that takes advantage of its display windows.

According to Ashizawa, the studio aims to tailor the different designs to suit their surroundings.

“For all of them, it is always a pleasure to have discussions about local, landscape, and the culture of the place and country to be utilized in designing the store,” he concluded.

“Indeed, this is what makes them a challenging project as every store has its own character and constraints.”

The photography is by Tomooki Kengaku.


Project credits:

Architect: Keiji Ashizawa Design
Project architect: Keiji Ashizawa and Chaoyen Wu
Construction: TANK
Tiles: Ceramic Olive Inc
Furniture: Karimoku and Karimoku Case
Lighting design: Aurora and Yoshiki Ichikawa
Pendant, wall lamp shade and logo plate: Juzan



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