It’s hard to imagine this cafe—Omotesando Koffee—anywhere other than Japan. A single room opens to the modest courtyard, its panelled walls and timber floors well worn, a tokonoma alcove displaying an exquisite bonsai lit by a hand-made paper ‘chandelier’ that echoes Poul Henningsen’s iconic Artichoke lamp design. Occupying the centre of the space is a cubic structure of thin metal rods, its architectural geometry framing the blonde wood bar and a striking red La Cimbali espresso machine – the single point of intense colour in the space, which I like to imagine as a nod to the visual style of Japanese film director Yasujiro Ozu. The only furniture in the place comprises an empty low lying set of shelves against one wall and two weathered wooden benches in the courtyard that look like they came with the house.

MAY, 2015