Sometimes, it is not the coffee that attracts tourists to visit a Starbucks coffee chain but the remarkable unique architecture and design of the shop; and two of the many Starbucks branches in Japan that exhibit such remarkable feats are indeed worthy to be visited.
Dark wood panels, Pantone-green accents, and chic and cozy seats are the common motifs found in the interior design of a typical Starbucks coffee chain. However, the design and architecture per se of Starbucks Kitanocho branch in Kobe and Starbucks Dazaifu Tenmangu Omotesando branch in Fukuoka seem to break away from the typical Starbucks setting.
Before the building was converted into Starbucks in 2009, it was originally owned and built by Americans in 1907. However, the building was damaged by the Great Hanshin Earthquake in 1995. The building was then sold to the city of Kobe and the stripping of it began.
Yet, the materials inside the building were preserved. The original 20th century old decor gives off a rustic and vintage feel and a touch of class to the ambiance of the shop. The green and white motif in the exterior of the shop adds more character to the location giving an Old World coffee house experience.
Designed by Kengo Kuma, this Starbucks coffee chain is inspired by the meeting of contemporary wooden construction technology and history (i.e. with Daizafu Shrine as the historic site). The challenge was to create a unique space that differs from other Starbucks coffee chains for the long thin site with dimensions of 7.5 meters width and 40 meters depth. About 2,000 pieces of cedar wood with a length of about 1.3 meters and 4 meters with a 6-centimeter cross section was used to cover the interior of the space extending to 4 kilometers.
These pieces of wood were woven in an X-shaped framework that aims to create an organic space which flows like the light and wind. Each piece of wood was assembled diagonally to provide support to the structure and dowels were inserted at the joint once the structure was assembled to provide the necessary stiffness.