Voice of Coffee — Yusuke Seki

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Voice of Coffee
Design by Yusuke Seki

A modern storefront brings the past to light
This coffee shop, located just off of a bustling district in Kobe, is housed in a former barbershop. The three letters above the entrance, “AAA,” are a vestige of its former use, reminding visitors of the history of the site. The façade, which used to extend to the street, has been set back and opened up as a glass front. The intervention creates an ENGAWA, a traditionally Japanese threshold space between the street and the shop interior, where guests can sit and enjoy their drinks while protected under a roof. While the setback reduces the actual amount of space inside the store, the addition of another spatial layer between interior and street ends up making the store feel deeper, and thus more spacious, than before.

The storefront incorporates a number of unusual strategies that are meant to momentarily throw off visitors, giving them pause and a chance to take a closer look at the details. Take, for example, the lower half of the front, which is composed of glass bricks stacked on top of one another. Whereas glass bricks are usually kept in place by a general metal frame, these elements are held together by the binding concrete alone – an unprecedented construction in Japan. The door handle, on the other hand, is made of two panes of glass, glued using a special adhesive on both sides of the glass door. The result is a completely transparent doorway, which allows guests to appreciate the natural hues of the material itself. The interior features a cupboard of glass and steel, whose gull-wing mechanism was developed by Yusuke Seki specially for this store.

Almost all of the structural elements were left as they were found during the demolition process. The wooden screen below the ceiling, for example, is the original timber frame that held up the suspended ceiling in the space’s former life, rediscovered as workers removed the plaster that had hidden it for years. The walls, too, have been left as they were after the workers had removed the finish covering them. Paradoxically, this subtractive approach has an accumulative effect: every detail come to light, every inscription left behind by a worker a generation ago, serves to make history visible, adds to the sense of time passing. This sense is heightened by a special detail: a layer of silver leaf, barely appreciable, applied to the wall near the back of the store. Over time, as the silver oxidizes, this square will change colors to a warm gold.

Yusuke Seki are Japan based Design team.
Their approach to design challenges is to conceptualise and revaluate into irreplaceable design with new interpretations. His designs embrace simplicity and minimalism at first glance and his inspiration comes directly from aspects which already exist within the context: such as materials, location, histories; all gathered and represented through the formal design approach. The function is essential in his design but through his work he focuses on facts and phenomena from the environment, including the essential design methods from the past, passed through to the future.

Voice of Coffee
Yusuke Seki

Harbour Chair – Norm Architects

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Harbour Chair
By Norm Architects

Designed by Norm Architects, the Harbour Chair is a clean and elegant chair, suitable for a wide range of settings and environments.

Designed specifically for the combined office, showroom, café and co-working space, Menu Space, the harbour chair successfully suits a wide range of purposes – at home, at the office, in restaurants and beyond. With an armrest bending backward, and the backrest being slightly higher than on most chairs, the versatile chair provides comfort and support, while also showcasing a clean and elegant design.

The chair sports organic shapes and an overall slim and clean appearance.

The chair came to life during the design process for the newly opened Menu Space, located in the upcoming area around Copenhagen’s northern harbour, designed to change and adapt at a moment’s notice – for clients, friends or visitors. It combines an office, showroom, café, co-working and event space, sporting generally soft and clean interiors, making the co-working space feel like home. The harbour chair meets the needs of all the space’s purposes.

The harbour chair is produced with a steel or wood base, with textile or leather upholstering, and is available in various colours.

Designer: Kasper Rønn von Lotzbeck

Norm Architects

Higher Ground – Espresso Melbourne

Higher Ground

The undisputed kings and queens of Melbourne’s hospitality scene, Nathan Toleman, Ben Clark, Sam Slattery and Diamond Rozakeas – along with Nate Wilkins and Kim Sheridan for this venture – unveiled Higher Ground in mid-2016, a suave and handsome sibling to widely adored The Kettle Black and Top Paddock.

Photography by Guy Lavoipierre

Espresso Melbourne



Sensory Lab – Espresso Melbourne


Sensory Lab, Espresso Melbourne

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Candied Bakery - Espresso Melbourne

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