The Design Behind Nendo’s Very Own Café

The Design Behind Nendo’s Very Own Café
Design & Architecture

A blend of historical and contemporary features fills the design studio's space, which serves coffee to Tokyo's finest

Lara Piras
  • 11 january 2016

Coffee lovers in Japan can now rejoice. A new cafe has opened on the 2nd floor of renowned creative hub Sogetsu Kaikan in Minato ward in Tokyo that oozes originality with unique characteristics that will make the Japanese proud of their heritage.


Designed by Tokyo-based Design Studio Nendo, Connel Coffee has launched with the iconic building’s original interiors that were created by the prominent 20th century Japanese architect Kenzo Tange in 1977. The name derives from “connel,” a play on the Japanese word “koneru”, meaning “to knead” or “to mold.” While the interiors have been newly introduced, the structure has been left untouched to ensure the space is as close to its original form as possible.


Only the flooring has been transformed using a “stream” effect, that’s added to parts of the interiors including the counters and stairs both merging the space and providing design consistency throughout.


There’s a chill-out area, which visitors can recline on the original, newly repaired “tulip chairs” by one of the most famous Finnish-American architects and industrial designers of the 20th century, Eero Saarinen. The “tulip tables” finish off the space perfectly using a mirror material that matches with the ceiling.


One of the highlights of the space is the breathtaking views of the Akasaka Estate, the Korekiyo Takahashi Memorial Park, and the stone garden created by Isamu Noguchi.


The modern elements come in the form of the rather clever stirring sticks that stay upright on their own, avoiding any unwanted splashes. They’re also made from tin so they gradually soften and change form with continued use. And then there’s the logo, which is formed by taking the “n” from the nendo logo and bending it to form two “c”s.


Every element of this cafe has been well thought out, making it so much more than just a coffee shop. The historic establishment is now home to an imaginative and wholeheartedly unique cafe experience, which is sure to attract not only the proud Japanese, but tourists from all over the world, too.


+Connel Coffee
+Eero Saarinen

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