All images ©Tololo Studio courtesy Maki Yoshimura Architecture Office

In a residential neighborhood, a small bakery is designed to integrate seamlessly with its surroundings while maintaining its commercial purpose. For all that’s written and said about the difficulty of starting a business in Japan, there is one exception. The country’s lax zoning laws make it particularly easy to convert a section of your home into a cafe or eatery. Case in point: Ye Bakers.


To be clear, ‘Ye Bakers’ has no relationship with American rapper Kanye ‘Ye’ West. The bakery is pronounced ie (イエ), which can mean “house” in Japanese and is a nod to their effort to create a space that respected the existing residential structure and scale, while also incorporating distinct elements, that sets it apart as a commercial establishment.

To achieve this balance, the design team at MYAO had made some thoughtful choices. The front door, larger than a typical residential entrance, served as a clear indication of the shop’s commercial nature. Instead of a conventional metal shutter, a substantial wooden door was chosen to enhance the façade. When closed, it blended with the overall elevation, giving the shop a cohesive appearance.

Flexibility is a key aspect of the design. Adjustable components were incorporated, allowing the shop to adapt to different seasons and events. During summer and winter months, the option to close the shop provided a comfortable environment with air conditioning. In contrast, during favorable weather conditions or special occasions, the entire space could be fully opened, transforming it into a vibrant stall.

Art Director Aya Yagi added a playful touch to the bakery’s branding, incorporating a bird carrying a single stalk of wheat.

The kitchen was added as an extension to the terrace. The design team employed a construction method using concrete blocks, enabling simultaneous completion of both interior and exterior finishes. This approach maintained the raw appearance akin to that of the original outdoor ambiance.

The careful design considerations of scale, material choice, flexibility, and integration have resulted in a bakery that successfully respects the existing structure while embracing its commercial identity.

Ye Bakers

〒444-2135 Aichi, Okazaki, Daimon, 3 Chome−19−3 (Google Maps)