Launch Slideshow

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Starbucks Coffee at Dazaifutenmangu Omotesando

Starbucks Coffee at Dazaifutenmangu Omotesando

  • Storefront of the Starbucks at Dazaifutenmangu Omotesando on the historic street leading to the temple site.

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    Storefront of the Starbucks at Dazaifutenmangu Omotesando on the historic street leading to the temple site.

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    Masao Nishikawa

    Storefront of the Starbucks at Dazaifutenmangu Omotesando on the historic street leading to the temple site.

  • Located on the approach to one of Japans most popular shrines, the Starbucks store is scaled to fit into the fabric of the historic district.

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    Located on the approach to one of Japans most popular shrines, the Starbucks store is scaled to fit into the fabric of the historic district.

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    Masao Nishikawa

    Located on the approach to one of Japan’s most popular shrines, the Starbucks store is scaled to fit into the fabric of the historic district.

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    Kengo Kuma & Associates

  • Seating and store display areas at the front of the Starbucks store look out onto the neighboring shops.

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    Seating and store display areas at the front of the Starbucks store look out onto the neighboring shops.

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    Masao Nishikawa

    Seating and store display areas at the front of the Starbucks store look out onto the neighboring shops.

  • Seating area, wrapped in woven wood, looking back toward rear garden.

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    Seating area, wrapped in woven wood, looking back toward rear garden.

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    Masao Nishikawa

    Seating area, wrapped in woven wood, looking back toward rear garden.

  • Inside, the café is dominated by a decidedly modern sculptural diagonal latticework of 2,000 cedar sticks.

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    Inside, the café is dominated by a decidedly modern sculptural diagonal latticework of 2,000 cedar sticks.

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    Masao Nishikawa

    Inside, the café is dominated by a decidedly modern sculptural diagonal latticework of 2,000 cedar sticks.

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    Kengo Kuma & Associates

  • While the effect is delicate, there is an unexpectedly large amount of wood used in the space: Laid end-to-end, the total length of cedar sticks used in the space is over 2.7 miles.

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    While the effect is delicate, there is an unexpectedly large amount of wood used in the space: Laid end-to-end, the total length of cedar sticks used in the space is over 2.7 miles.

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    Masao Nishikawa

    While the effect is delicate, there is an unexpectedly large amount of wood used in the space: Laid end-to-end, the total length of cedar sticks used in the space is over 2.7 miles.

  • The stores design does have precedence: The woven-wood techniquewhich Kengo Kumas firm has explored, more orthogonally, with its Chidori modular furniture and at the Prostho Museum Research center in Kasugai-shi, Aichi, Japanis based on a traditional Japanese toy.

    http://www.architectmagazine.com/Images/tmpDD1C%2Etmp_tcm20-1244557.jpg

    The stores design does have precedence: The woven-wood techniquewhich Kengo Kumas firm has explored, more orthogonally, with its Chidori modular furniture and at the Prostho Museum Research center in Kasugai-shi, Aichi, Japanis based on a traditional Japanese toy.

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    Masao Nishikawa

    The store’s design does have precedence: The woven-wood technique—which Kengo Kuma’s firm has explored, more orthogonally, with its Chidori modular furniture and at the Prostho Museum Research center in Kasugai-shi, Aichi, Japan—is based on a traditional Japanese toy.

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    Kengo Kuma & Associates

  • Interior elevation of the northern wall.

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    Interior elevation of the northern wall.

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    Kengo Kuma & Associates

    Interior elevation of the northern wall.

  • Interior elevations

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    Interior elevations

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    Kengo Kuma & Associates

    Interior elevations

Roughly 2 million people visit the Dazaifu Tenmangu shrine in Japan’s Fukuoka prefecture each year, and most approach on foot, following a pavered street through a historic district. Among the shops that sell lucky wooden bullfinch carvings and sweet bean-paste-filled rice cakes called umegae mochi, there is a new, and familiar, face: the stylized siren of Starbucks.

In Dazaifu, however, the store does not follow the formula used by the coffee conglomerate’s in-house designers, a group that is stationed in 14 offices worldwide. The building owner, the Manten Corp., asked that Starbucks work with Tokyo-based Kengo Kuma & Associates (KKA) on the interior. The partnership was a good fit. “We found that his [Kuma’s] design sensibility matches our aesthetic point of view,” says Arthur Rubinfeld, president of Starbucks global development.

The Dazaifu store “is located at the main approach to one of the most prestigious and popular shrines in Japan,” says KKA principal Kengo Kuma, Hon. FAIA. “The path is lined with old, low-storied, traditional Japanese houses and shops, so we thought our design of Starbucks would best harmonize the scene.” Using a palette of modest materials, Kuma’s team designed a single-story enclosure made from razor-thin, coated-steel sheets. Inside the 210-square-meter (2,260-square-foot) café, a screed floor and chipboard walls and ceilings are impeccably detailed, but these fade to the background behind the structure’s showcase: 2,000 woven cedar sticks.

The principle, Kuma says, is to “start from a small, human-scale unit … [and carry it through] to the whole. It is one of these ideas of ours that a structure should be built up that way; everything is, in fact, made of tiny particles.” Each stick is 6 centimeters (2.3 inches) square in section, and ranges in length from 1.3 to 4 meters (4.3 to 13 feet). The pieces are woven together on the diagonal; notches carved into the sides of the sticks allow them to fit snugly together, and they are held in place with thin stainless steel pipes. The units build upon each other to form a latticework that covers the length of one wall and stretches across the ceiling plane. “The wooden weaving expresses a sense of depth,” Kuma says, “and customers of the café might feel [that] they drink coffee in a forest.”

Starbucks “continue[s] to receive comments on the store’s beautiful design,” Rubinfeld says. And though “grande no-foam triple-shot latté” might not be in the typical Japanese phrase book, it might be worth looking up before planning a trip to Dazaifu.


Project Credits

Project Starbucks Coffee at Dazaifutenmangu Omotesando, Dazaifu, Fukuoka Prefecture, Japan
Client Manten Corp.
Architect Kengo Kuma & Associates, Tokyo
Structure Jun Sato Structural Engineers
Facility Design Tosai Corp.; Kyu-den Ko Corp.
Construction Matsumoto-gumi Corp.
Lighting Izumi Okayasu Lighting Design
Size 210.03 square meters (2,260 square feet, total floor area)

Materials and Sources

Ceiling Plasterboard
Flooring Screed floors; vinyl flooring
Glass Toughened glass (t10, t15)
Hardware Steel pipes
Lighting Indirect LED lighting
Roofing Aluminum-zinc-alloy-coated steel sheet
Structure Wood; structural plywood
Walls Cement-bonded wood chipboard; Polyester laminate
Wood Cedar sticks