To conclude my series on Tokyo’s Café boom, I’d like to show a more recent work by Ichiro Katami and Uichi Yamamoto. SO TIRED opened in April of 2006 in the business district of Marunouchi. The concept was to create a church-like atmosphere where businessmen can relax after (or during) a hard days work. The stained glass is a nice touch that creates a unique environment, very uncommon to Japan. But what’s even more impressive are the chairs. If you look closely you’ll notice that on the rear of the chairs there is a bible holder. These are actual church chairs imported from Europe.
SO TIRED serves a blend of Cantonese and Western cuisine. And, quite contrary to what the name suggests, high-octane woks and energetic staffers characterize the general feel of the shop.
The design is comforting, but not too noisy or overpowering, something that the 2 designers emphasize in all of their work.
Since 1997 to the present, their stores have been met with enthusiastic intrigue. Is it a coffee shop? Is it a restaurant? That ambiguity was probably what was needed to interfere with the rigid structure of day-to-day Japanese lifestyle. That ambiguity was probably what was so relaxing about cafes, and what kept people coming back. Ichiro Katami and Uichi Yamamoto possessed the foresight to identify the needs of Japanese consumers, proposing solutions through elegantly designed cafes. Perhaps that, over their artistic skills, was the true genius behind the duo.
That concludes my piece on the Japanese Cafe boom. If you are interested in visiting any of these cafes I’ve created a google map that lists them.