Following CUT architectures' design of the flagship café Coutume rue de Babylone in Paris and the coffee cart within the Finnish Institute in Paris, they were re-commissioned to design the first café Coutume abroad, in the heart of Tokyo's Aoyama district.
CUT architectures aimed to keep the strong identity they had created already for the Coutume brand while adapting it to the Tokyo location.
Treading the line between a Parisian coffee shop and a laboratory, Café Coutume Aoyama offers a two sided space: on the entrance side the laboratory is set-up under a white hygienic grid ceiling with integrated LED panels lighting up the bar. The bar and cashier is composed of two tiled blocks referencing chemistry boards. On the other side, the seating area is set under the hollow version of the bar ceiling, which feature white lacquered frames that keep the continuity with the ceiling grid of the laboratory area.
The flooring, made out of oak parquetry, uses multiple layouts: Chantilly layout in front of the bar, Hungarian layout leading to the restrooms and traditional layout for the seating area. A single tile is integrated within the parquetry in front of the bar, echoing the treatment of the custom-made tables in the seating area.
Both the interior walls and exterior façades are clad with white tiles up to 1 m, creating a continuous line surrounding the space, both inside and outside.
On the street side, another block made of tiles and glass hosts a roasting sampler, high stools and small Japanese plants. Behind the bar, a translucent glazed wall hiding the kitchen also integrates glass shelves of the display. In the back, a communal table with a large planter offers ten seats under an illuminated printed glass volume.
Following the ceiling grids, the hanging lights are made out of ceramic lamp holders and Japanese tubular bulbs. On the surrounding walls, vintage French ceramic bathroom fixtures are combined with oak sticks to create coat hangers and holders for the mobile lamps used by the workers during the construction of the café.