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Kengo Kuma – a very special Starbucks branch

Entrance of Starbucks designed by Kengo KumaThe American coffee house chain STARBUCKS COFFEE normally takes pride in the fact that the design of Starbucks branches all over the world is fairly similar. The idea behind this policy is to enhance the 'feel-at-home' effect. In this case however, the design was clearly dictated by the location.

The internationally famous architect Kengo Kuma was commissioned to design this new Starbucks branch. Without totally ignoring the instantly recognisable Starbucks branding – the coffee served there certainly tastes the same as in other branches all over the world – the architect used the surroundings of the location of this branch as a source of inspiration.

The coffee house is situated in the Fukuoka Prefecture, in a street leading directly to Dazaifu Tenmangu, a major shrine dedicated to a Japanese deity. According to Kuma, the design is "a fusion of the traditional and contemporary and made up of natural materials both traditional and modern".

Drawing on tradition and classical carpentry used in old Japanese temples, Kuma developed a unique system of weaving thin sticks of wood diagonally.

Apart from fulfilling an aesthetic function, the woven stick structure also carries part of the ceiling. The aim is to make customers feel special and at ease in the coffee house, a little bit like sitting in the branches of a tree.

Starbucks coffee house by Japanese architect Kengo KumaInterior of Starbucks branch in Fukuoka PrefectureUnique starbucks branch by Kengo KumaUnique interior of starbucks in JapanWoven stick structure on wall of starbucks by Kengo Kuma

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DETAIL 6/2020
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