Fourteen Stones Design revamps Tokyo warehouse into "coffee gastronomy" cafe

Tokyo-based Fourteen Stones Design has designed the Koffee Mameya Kakeru cafe for barista Eiichi Kunitomo in a former water transportation hub in Kiyosumi Shirakawa.

Set in the Kiyosumi Shirakawa area of Tokyo, the coffee shop occupies a warehouse which Fourteen Stones Design renovated and extended "to preserve the appearance of the old warehouse as much as possible".

Koffee Mameya Kakeru cafe by Fourteen Stones Design
Koffee Mameya Kakeru is in an old warehouse

The studio removed the shutters from the front of the warehouse, adding a glass facade. The rest of the building, including the interiors, remains as it was – with minimal repairs made to the walls.

It aimed "to make everyday coffee an extraordinary experience" with a full "course of coffee" served by baristas and the renovation has been designed to facilitate this.

A coffee counter in black granite with a timber frame
The white oak structure frames the coffee bar

A staggered rectangular frame of white oak at the entrance of the cafe, which echoes the coffee package design, dominates the interior space and provides a central visual motif for the scheme.

This frame divides the entrance space from the main cafe where a U-shaped bar surrounding the barista workstations was placed.

The barista's workbenches, which were made from black granite, were deliberately placed at the centre of the space to create "a stage set-up, which enables baristas to fully demonstrate their skills".

Besides the new seating area, restrooms, a kitchen, a laboratory and office space have all been renovated.

Baristas work at black granite counters
The service and bar countertops were made from "Jura Yellow" limestone. Featuring fossils from the Jura period, it was chosen for its texture and also for allusions to the passage of time – not only echoed in the coffee growing, roasting and brewing processes but also the journey of the brand from its inception 10 years ago.

Fourteen Stones Design's Yosuke Hayashi designed the custom furniture for the cafe in the same white oak as the frame structure. It was manufactured by Japanese company E&Y for the project.

Barista working at coffee bar with staggered timber frame
The space aims to create a "gastronomic experience" for coffee drinkers

The cafe's owner Kunitomo believes baristas "act as a bridge between the customer and the roastery" and should be given "a social status comparable to that of a sommelier".

Baristas at Koffee Mameya Kakeru will serve single cups of coffee through to full courses of coffee, "elevated by the newly designed space to the realm of gastronomy", according to the practice.

Fourteen Stones Design has been shortlisted in the restaurant and bar interior category of this year's Dezeen Awards. Other projects in the running include a rattan restaurant in Bangkok by Enter Projects Asia Co. and YODEZEEN's Japanese restaurant in Kyiv's city centre.

The photography is by Ooki Jingu.

More images

Concrete frame above toilet sink
Interior timber detail of coffee shop
Coffee grinder on counter in timber interior
wooden stool and wooden furnished chair
long coffee counter with wooden stools lit from above
high wooden stool with arms
Baristas at work at black granite coffee counters
Detail of framed leg of timber chair
Coffee counter and display unit with bags of beans
vials of coffee beans in counter holder
Framed coffee bar with spotlights
Barista at work behind coffee counter with framed wood
Display unit of coloured coffee bags inside timber frame
Barista behind entry counter with spotlights and wooden frame
coffee beans stored in display unit inside stone counter top