© Schemata / Photography: Takumi Ota

Blue Bottle Coffee first arrived in the Land of the Morning Sun little over three years ago, and following a number of café openings across Tokyo since then, the Oakland-based cult coffee brand has now set up its first coffee parlour in Kyoto. Considered the very cradle of Japanese culture, the city’s downtown area boasts plenty of architectural treasures, and it so happens that the company has secured a historic machiya, or townhouse, to set up shop. Blue Bottle Coffee has collaborated with Tokyo-based architect Jo Nagasaka and his practice Schemata since its arrival in Japan, and this new outpost is no exception.

The interior has been stripped and redesigned to reveal its purest form, integrating even patches of bare clay walls that add a heightened sense of history. Originally comprised of two separate buildings, the redesign has merged them into a single unit. The existing floor has been raised 50cm above the ground to adhere to a characteristic style of traditional Japanese architecture. Also, in order to visually continue the pebbled outdoor grounds inside, terrazzo flooring containing the same type of pebbles was constructed.

Upon entering the café, customers are met by an L-shaped service counter, a communal table with stools, and a seating area furnished with tables and stools. The redevelopment of the century old structure also lays bare the intricate roof structure, and which now forms the backdrop of a sleek tubular light installation. One floor up, an office space is situated. The new Blue Bottle Coffee café serves the brand’s full range of coffee products. Location: Blue Bottle Coffee, 64 Kusakawacho Nanzenji (Higashiyama).

© Schemata / Photography: Takumi Ota