11/30/2012

Starbucks Omotesando; A Sticky Situation!


Im not one to praise large corporations but this time Starbucks stepped out of its generic vanilla box and produced a cool design thats definitely worth reporting.  Located in the popular fashion and cultural district of Omotesando, Tokyo, the cafe stands on the main approach to the Dazaifu Tenmangu, one of the major shrines in Japan.  Established in 919 A.D., the shrine has been worshiped as "the God for examination." and receives about 2 million visitors a year who wish their success.



Designers at Kengo Kuma and Associates aimed to build a structure that resonates a harmony with the surrounding street-scape and nearby shrine.  They used a unique system of weaving the pieces of wood diagonally to usher in a sense of direction and fuidity.  The building is made of 2,000 sticks 1.3-4m in length and 6cm thick.  The structure was achieved by dividing four stick combinations into two groups to avoid concentration on a single point. The groupings are piled in small parts from the ground up, a technique adapted from traditional architecture of Japan and China.