Kengo Kuma Meets Starbucks

  March 14, 2012

Kuma Kengo (Kengo Kuma in Anglo name order) is a Japanese famous architect, who designed this unique Starbucks shop in Dazaifu, Fukuoka. His obsessiveness of Paticlization has long been obvious from his works such as Hiroshige Museum, Asahi Broadcasting HQ, or River/Filter. Personally I think his best work is Hiroshige museum, by far, but in each work he aimed at different goals so it’s difficult to tell from object itself without context they are knitted in.
I always think what separate designers and Architects… it’s difficult to put into words but Kuma’s work tell that difference the best for me. Architects like him, They always care the context of the city. This shop faces to the approach leads to the iconic shrine Dazaifu-Tenmangu, so he tried to add traditional structure here, but at the same time, tried to diffuse it into the typical cheap Japanese cityscape. The frame of this shop is identical to the archetype of Japanese low-budget city housings, among which this tiny architecture fits in.
Two back gardens and a cherry tree are laid out in this narrow deep land plot, expecting to be a community space for the local people and who come to visit the shrine.
For some reason there’re many cool Starbucks in Japan (i,e. Kamakura, Kyoto-riverside, Kobe-seaside, Roppongi, Omotesando, Shibuya109), but so far this is the best architecture of Starbucks in Japan.

Slideshow – click to start