Niseko Look out Café
Monday 11 Mar 2013


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On the island of Hokkaido in Japan, near to the top of the mountain in Niseko is the Look Out Café; designed for skiers to stop for a short break or lunch. The restaurant opens only during the snow season, December through April daily. This restaurant is owned by a hotel management and railway company and was originally built of wood 28 years ago before this renovation.

In Japan, autumn and winter mean short daylight hours, when the sun sets early and strong winds resulted in the construction progress unable to proceed as scheduled. Although there were many constraints during the progress, the outcome was very satisfying for the designers, Design Spirits Ltd. Aside from geographical and climate constraints, the limitation in using only three types of materials- woods, paint, and wallpaper -were also a challenge.

The designer used vertical timber lattice as the main material, which is known to represent Japanese identity so the tourists can experience exotic Japan when they are walking along the alleyway as the reflections from the roofs come in different sizes and heights. An illumination effect is created as the lights from roof came through the lattice, and the feeling of warmth and security are felt through the varying roof heights and seizes. This feeling is heightened when Look out Café is crowded with customer, and a warm ambiance is created in an interior space sheltered from the cold outdoors.  

design spirits co., ltd.