to-kitchen: opened!!








The design of to-kitchen centers around 4 main ideas: history, flowing forms, spaces marked by their materiality, and openness.  These ideas, when tied together, create a cohesive space for the many functions and areas of to-kitchen.

As the building retains half a century of history and character from the previous owners, we wanted to exhibit elements of the former building in our design by exposing some of the original concrete and columns.    Additional smaller details of past usage can be seen in older exposed electrical sockets and even the negative imprint of stairs in the walls.  These visible elements link the new design back to the original structure through the original materiality.

Uozu’s close distance from the sea allows us also to bring the idea of flowing movement into to-kitchen.  The unique waving tatami floor, the sloping wall of the kitchen and café, and other smaller curving elements in furniture allow visitors to always feel as sense of gentle movement as they themselves flow through to-kitchen's various spaces.
The flowing curves mentioned above help to unify the three main spaces which are defined by their materiality.  The kitchen, café, and gallery require a clean backdrop for their activities and, as such, have a while finish with accents of wood.  Adjacent is the coworking, meeting, and seating areas which, in order to have a warmer, more inviting atmosphere, are enclosed by a box-room of cedar and tatami.  Lastly, the shop interior, the most functional of the three spaces, links back to the historical shop use and therefore exhibits the previously mentioned existing concrete quite strongly. 

While not often experienced in Uozu, the feeling of openness and creating a unified space throughout to-kitchen’s large floor area was quite important. We felt that rather than enclose individual rooms, by leaving them open to each, visitors may feel a sense of curiosity and wonder about the other spaces.  For exapmle, even the kitchen is not hidden entirely, but has windows from which to view food preparation.   Additionally, leaving the entire space free of partitioning walls allows for a favorable connection not just between users, but also between the user, to-kitchen as a whole, and the shopping street outside.

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