Designed by: Fumihiko Sano Studio
For client: Dandelion Chocolate Floor area: 226.18 M² Year of completion: 2018
Submitted for:

About the Project

The project is situated in a narrow street in Ichinenzaka near Koenji. The building is designated as a cultural property by the city of Kyoto, thus much of the neighborhood has retained the antique aesthetics of the past. The renovation design revives the atmosphere of the traditional Kyoto architecture while incorporating a casual, open space reminiscent of San Francisco; the original location of Dandelion Chocolate. To take advantage of seasonal changes of Kyoto, there is an open space between the front yard and courtyard where you can enjoy the four seasons with fresh greenery, blossoming flowers and changing colors of leaves. Cedar wood is a vital material in Japanese architecture. Traditional houses often rely on building materials such as the kamoi, nageshi, mawaribuchi shoji and ranma to be built from cedar trees. Cedar is the main material for this project considering craft chocolate and cedar require authentic craftsmanship and carefully selected natural ingredients, the similarities By incorporating a modern adaptation of a classical Japanese architectural design, we hope to extend the lifespan of a one hundred year old building by another one hundred years.

What’s unique about it

One challenging aspect of this project was balancing the functionality of a modern café with the traditional aesthetics of Kyoto. Reinventing the use of materials like a 900mm wide cedar wood to serve as a counter top for the cacao bar allowed for an aesthetically driven decision to serve a functional purpose for the customers. The project achieves a seamless transition between the interior and exterior of the building to highlight of the importance of the site. Illustrating the seasonal changes in Kyoto created a sense of belonging to its environment. The dynamic qualities of the project serve to create a unique space reminiscent of open-air architecture such as temples and gardens. Preservation of traditional aesthetics of Ichinenzaka was another vital goal for this project. While the exterior of the building has been preserved as it was one hundred years ago, the interior had been renovated since then to transition away from the traditional Japanese aesthetic to a modern design. Without a clear basis of the original design, renovating the interior as a modern adaptation of Kyoto design served as a form of social preservation.

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