domenica 26 febbraio 2012

Kengo Kuma’s Idiosyncratic Starbucks Store Opens

Kengo Kuma and Associates

The ubiquity of the Starbucks brand has yielded an unsurprising aesthetic monotony among their ever-expanding empire of coffee shops. The anatomy of nearly every Starbucks store can be reduced to the same basic elements, from the mood lighting and tacky factory art to the Michael Buble (or Jacques Brel, vintage post-war Franco ephemera are always a sure bet) records blaring over the tinny speaker system. While the level of customization of drink orders is relatively broad, the custom Starbucks shop is essentially an anomaly. In the case of Kengo Kuma‘s new Starbucks cafe in Fukuoka, Japan, that is a good thing. The new store is both ornate and minimal, traditional and modern, continuing the architect’s exploration in the crafts and carpentry heritage of his native land. 
The Kuma Starbucks is located adjacent to the grounds of the Dazaifu Tenmagu, a Shinto shrine complex of several wooden structures set within a park-like environment of trees, ponds, and courtyards. The store’s design was meant to evoke the shrine’s tranquil atmosphere, with such features as an inner garden planted with plum trees and an interior wooden frame stretching the full-length of the shop meant to reference the ceremonial lumber structures nearby.
Kengo Kuma and Associates

Kengo Kuma and Associates

Kengo Kuma and Associates

For the frame, which recalls the architect’s career-long idiosyncratic use of wood, Kuma has created a three-dimensional matrix of angled 6cm square blocks which overlap each other, resembling some viral, organic growth which spreads from the sidewall to the ceiling, neatly siphoned off at the storefront edge. This was the intention, says the architect, who wanted the store to be contextually rooted in the site, as if almost “nested” within it. Kuma has also suggested that the wood blocks were recycable, saying that “You can dismantle the building and reassemble it somewhere else.” 
Kengo Kuma and Associates

Kengo Kuma and Associates


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