Bandesign designed the cafe, named Mirrors, for a plot by the side of a road on a tourist route. The building has two wings and looks as if it has been split in half and arranged around a single Camilla tree, which stands on a patch of white gravel with tile edging.
The mirrored gables are angled towards each other, reflecting both the adjacent tree and the cherry blossoms that line a river bank that is popular with passing tourists.
"Taking advantage of this location – Mirrors is on a riverside street and cherry blossom trees grew along the street. Mirrors reflects the cherry blossom, creating a forest and inviting visitors in," studio founder Hisanori Ban told Dezeen.
The outer facades of the single-storey building are clad in strips of white-painted steel that give the timber-framed building a traditional clapboard appearance.
Vibrant red doors positioned under a porch on each of the white facades lead into the cafe's two seating areas.
Interior walls are painted white, red and green, and customers sit under dark wooden eaves intended to resemble tree branches.
"The vertical roof struts, a motif of the tree branch, give them the feeling of resting under a tree," said Ban. "Every part of the design and colour implies being in the forest."
Wooden chairs are lined up behind counters under wide picture windows in each gable to give simultaneous views of both the reflected and real scenery.
A kitchen with a serving hatch is positioned at the back of the space, in the join between the two seating areas.
Photography is by Shigetomo Mizuno.
Architect: Bandesign – Hisanori Ban Terashima kazumoto
Lighting design: Koizumi Lighting technology – Atsuko Fujita
Construction company: Oribe – Daisuke Oribe