Dezeen Magazine

A small tree grows inside Ito-biyori cafe by Ninkipen!

A large circular mirror reflects a tree planted in the centre of this Osaka cafe by Japanese studio Ninkipen! (+ slideshow).


Ninkipen! used a variety of materials for the interior of Ito-biyori cafe to create a "simple and warm atmosphere".

"The main idea of this design is to make the atmosphere harmonise with the organic foods that are offered in the cafe," said architect Yasuo Imazu.


The small Jabuticaba tree grows from a chunky square planter, positioned opposite the large mirror that is mounted onto a rough concrete wall.

At one end of this surface, a section of brickwork protrudes at angle into the dining space.


On the other side, the wall is rendered with compacted soil and inlaid with a thin horizontal copper strip.

The wall perpendicular to both of these surfaces faces out onto a small terrace and a rockery garden.


It incorporates sliding window panels that open the cafe to outside, with a wood-framed door on one side for when the glazed facade is closed.

"We changed the parking lot in front of the cafe into a garden with soil and several kinds of trees," said Imazu.


The 67-square-metre space is populated with Danish Modernist designer Hans Wegner's the famous Wishbone chairs and Børge Mogensen's J39 seats, which are tucked beneath oak tables.


The two-seater tables, placed in a row along the concrete wall, are each illuminated by a small pendant light dangling above.


A conical ceramic pendant by designer Hiroyuki Nagatomi hangs above the monolithic service counter, which is topped with a glass vitrine.

Behind, a panel of horizontal southern Japanese hemlock beams supports three thin shelves and hides the kitchen, toilet and stock rooms.


The counter and planter are made from white artificial stone, while the floor is polished concrete.

Ninkipen! also planted a tree at the centre of a hair salon in Kadoma.

Photography is by Hiroki Kawata.

Floor plan – click for larger image
Section – click for larger image