• Sharon Crockett

Serene Japanese Design -- at a Starbucks?!

Is this really a Starbucks?! Yes, it's a Japanese teahouse-inspired coffee house smack dab in the middle of one of the oldest and most culturally historic cities in Asia, Kyoto. With its low seating, spare use of color and heavy doses of natural wood and stone, this new Starbucks in Kyoto, Japan feels serene and makes you want to linger a bit longer over your Green Tea Latte. How can mass retail coffee house design inspire residential or other commercial design? Starbucks' designers drew inspiration from the local vernacular architecture and interiors of the region, which you can also do in your own little place on the globe, wherever that may be. Next, if you want to infuse a bit of Asian calm to your space, tone down the use of color and focus on contrast in textures, light and materials. Rough next to smooth. Light next to dark. Natural over synthetic. Low over high. Transparent next to opaque. These contrasts can provide all the drama you need without tons of patterns and crazy colors (not that there's anything wrong with that occasionally). This Kyoto Starbucks is a revelation. Even for a non-coffee drinker (which I'm most definitely am not)! (Photo credits: Jimmy Cohrssen)

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