Located in eastern coastal town of Abu Al Hasaniya in Kuwait, the new branch of % Arabica, the well-known coffee shop in the Higashiyama ward of Kyoto city, has been designed in the same minimalist sensibilities that the Japanese design firm is renowned for.
Using stark white as the base colour of the space, the interior is highlighted with materials such as brass and concrete to fit the brand identity of the Arabica brand. The rawness of the structural concrete pillars is juxtaposed with the contemporary and polished seating surface.
White coffee machines blend in with the background and let the coffee beans presented in linen sacks behind a glass case, take centrestage. A map of the various bean varieties on the wall further emphasises the coffee premise.
Taking into consideration the four-metre ceiling height and the location of the property on a corner with a wide window opening, the space has been designed as a layered platform -- mimicking an auditorium -- gradually rising from the seating area near the entrance to the counter at the top. This structure allows for a clear line of sight from any seat in the shop as well as a full view outside looking in.
This layout helps to keep the line of people waiting for their coffee from disturbing the people sitting at their tables, while at the same time the staff at the counter have an overall view of the entire store.
Although an open field of view was an important element of the design, in order to respect traditional Islamic custom of privacy for women, the bench has been designed with a curve to reduce unwanted eye contact.
The 190m2 space can seat up to 30 coffee aficionados at once and 44 additional seats are available on the outdoor terrace. A part of the seating bench was extended to the other side of the window to provide a seamless visual transition between the shop’s interior and exterior.
The division of the store into a terraced triangular layout and four vertical layers allows for multiple lines of sight for both the customers as well as the staff.