This is a coffee stand belonging to AoQ, a new brand established by SUETOMI, the renowned confectionery shop in Kyoto. The stand is on Karasuma-dori street which runs from the Kyoto train station, and is located on the ground floor of a two-story wooden building at an intersection surrounded by hotels and office buildings.
The depth of the coffee stand is only about 1 meter and is so small and modest that it can almost be missed in the busy street. Since the depth of it is so shallow, we were quickly able to decide on the floor plan. The kitchen and the resting area were installed side by side, along the street in the front.
Although the floor plan was decided upon almost automatically, we had to spend more time on what to do with the elevations. We decided to study the vertical side - regardless of the interior and exterior of the stand - and made an effort to chemically try to control the aging of the copper.
We taped copper foil on the wall, and oxidized it with soy sauce and chemicals. We did this because we wanted the facade to look like something that would be suitable for SUETOMI’s since long established confectionery shop in Kyoto, and also to give it a rusty patina color, which is reminiscent of "Suetomi blue", SUETOMI's corporate color for the past seventy years.
In fact, SUETOMI's flagship store is located just three minutes away on foot. So we wanted the whole stand to function as a signboard, 1 meter thick, with the color, leading customers to the main store from the busy street. The patina color was used in two areas: the eye-catching side facing the intersection, as well as in the resting area.
Cityscape regulations control the use of facade colors except for on natural materials. The use of the colors was permitted by the local government as it was not painted but was created by the oxidation of copper.
We adequately used soy sauce to slowly let the copper corrode, generating the reddish brown color, as well as ammonium chloride to quickly let the copper corrode, generating the patina color. Without these substances, and if the copper had only been exposed to wind and rain, it would have taken about three months to achieve this reddish brown color, and ten years to get the patina color.
When the cafe is closed, the resting area is covered with a roll screen made of a mesh sheet originally used for the temporary scaffold of a building construction.
When it is lit at night, it resembles a bamboo blind historically used by Japanese noble families, which lets you see through to the patina color on the wall. It functions as a "street lamp" for pedestrians, but also as a billboard for the store.