Locally produced tiles adorn coffee shop in Nagoya

Japanese studio Keiji Ashizawa Design has unveiled its latest project in Nagoya, Japan with the design prominently featuring locally sourced materials, with a significant focus on tiles produced by local manufacturer Ceramic Olive Bricks.

The 311-square-metre café space is an exemplary model of integrating local craftsmanship into modern design.


The walls, floors, and tables are clad in tiles, creating a cohesive and visually striking environment.
Keiji Ashizawa, the founder of Keiji Ashizawa Design, highlighted the philosophy behind the design: “Inspired by Blue Bottle Coffee’s philosophy of valuing the local, we decided to use tiles that are produced in the Chukyo area.”

A notable feature of the café is the large centre table, specifically designed for the space and clad in tiles from the same manufacturer, albeit with a different glaze for easy cleaning. “We thought that the café, which often serves as a lounge in a large building, needs to have a central space where everyone can remember,” Ashizawa explained. This table serves as both a functional piece and a visual focal point, embodying the café’s communal spirit.

The interior design extends beyond tiles, incorporating wooden furniture and unique lighting fixtures made from local pottery plates. These rounded wall sconces and pendant lamps add a soft, diffused light to the space, enhancing the warm, inviting atmosphere. “The pendant and wall lamps are made of pottery plates from the same region as the tiles, and are also used as tableware in the store,” Ashizawa noted. The slight imperfections in the plates’ surfaces contribute to the café’s handcrafted feel.

In homage to Nagoya’s cultural heritage, the design also includes elements inspired by local monuments. The lighting on the counter, finished in a brass colour, pays tribute to the ornaments atop Nagoya Castle. Additionally, a mobile designed by an architect friend of Ashizawa, resembling a tree branch, hangs above the central table, adding an ethereal touch to the space. Named “In the Sky,” this brass mobile subtly defines the place and creates a charming atmosphere.

The café’s earthy colour palette, with its pink-coloured tiles, grey floors and walls, and natural wood and textiles, harmonizes to create a serene environment. Located in the historically significant Chunichi Building, now housing a hotel, the café is designed to serve as a comforting lounge space for both locals and visitors. Ashizawa encapsulated the project’s essence, stating, “I had the inspiration to somehow add value to the place by making it not just a café, but more of a lounge space in a hotel that provides a sense of comfort.”

The Blue Bottle Coffee café in Nagoya stands as a testament to the potential of local materials and craftsmanship in creating spaces that are both beautiful and meaningful.

Images by Tomooki Kengaku via Dezeen

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Locally produced tiles adorn coffee shop in Nagoya

Japanese studio Keiji Ashizawa Design has unveiled its latest project in Nagoya, Japan with the design prominently featuring ...


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