tokyo: coutume café opening

© cut architectures / photography: david foessel

since its inception three years ago, coutume café in the st.-germain district of paris has become a mecca for discerning coffee addicts in the french capital. sure, the coffee is superior with a range of delectable options paired with ditto bites and salads, but it's also the cool setting and the patronage by chic locals that have given it a solid reputation. the japanese have always had a soft spot for french savoir-vivre and the city of light, and over the decades they've adopted anything from baguettes to vuitton trophy bags. and this appreciation - or should we say obsession? - continues to this very day.

it isn't very surprising that the coutume café concept has successfully been exported to aoyama, tokyo's swanky equivalent of st.-germain. coutume café aoyama is a collab with baycrew's, one of japan's largest retailers with a nationwide network of shops and also cafés. the café occupies a fairly sizeable 85 sqm. [914 sq.ft.] ground floor unit of a building on kotto dori, one of the main thoroughfares in the neighbourhood. similiarly to the original in paris, the interior design has been created by french practice cut architectures, and largely resembles the aesthetic there.

but what sets coutume café aoyama apart is the fact that it features a two-sided space: the entrance side boasts a laboratory of sorts, set-up under a white grid ceiling with integrated led panels. the bar and sales counter is composed of two tiled blocks referring to the chemistry boards. directly opposite the seating area is situated under the hollow version of the bar ceiling, featuring white lacquered frames in continuity with the ceiling grid of the laboratory area. contrasting with the abundance of pristine white is the oak flooring with various layouts. a witty detail is the single tile integrated in the floor in front of the bar, echoing the treatment of the custom-made tables of the seating area.

the wall base of the interior walls - as well as on the entire exterior façade - is covered with white tiles up to 1 meter, creating a continuous line surrounding the entire space both inside and outside. the space is lit by hanging lights and japanese tubular bulbs. the seating area has various arrangements, including one large communal table. having a reputation to live up to, coutume café aoyama takes coffee very, very seriously. sure, it has good coffee and knowedgeable baristas, but it also plans to set up its very own roasting facility in the city. location: 5-8-10 minami aoyama [aoyama].

© cut architectes / photography: david foessel