After hitting bullseye in Paris in 2011, Coutume has brought Parisian coffee to Tokyo, commissioning the project once again to CUT Architecture studio, Paris.
Coutume is a cross between a café and a coffee-roasting workshop, between a place where you can chill out and chat, and a theme path.

A venue that stands out on its own for its highly original features.

Coutume---2 The designers have emphasized Coutume’s uniqueness, creating a simple, smart café in Ayoma (a hip, trendy neighborhood in the Japanese capital), where the product you can consume and/or buy, and the reason-why for it, are clear right from the start.

The interiors chosen by the designers are half workshop (including an A to Z guide on coffee production) and half traditional café, and they guide customers unselfconsciously, without forgetting the venue’s brand identity.


CUT’s design choices see a marked dominance of the color white, with occasional grey and beige notes. This gives the workshop area a feeling similar to that of an operating theatre, while at the same time customers who wish to sit down and consume will do so in a soft environment.

A wide white grille on the ceiling hosts basic, no-frills Japanese led lighting fixtures.
The grille is interrupted and becomes a faux suspended ceiling – white in color and featuring recessed led lighting – to mark out the sales counter and cashier areas. These are covered in white tiles and feature complements and tools that are strictly consistent with the ambience, being transparent or dark grey.

The whole flooring is made of oak wood in Chantilly, Hungarian and traditional-style lay-outs. One single small white tile breaks up the parquet’s continuity in front of the bar area, the only architectural quirk featured in CUT’s otherwise rigorous design. The walls too have a white tile covering, up to 1 m height from the floor.

On the café’s street-facing side, another tiles-and-glass block houses a small coffee-roasting machine and some high stools, with a flower pot full of Japanese plants embedded in the center. Behind the bar, an opaque glass wall hides the kitchen and also features glass shelves for displaying the various types of coffee.
In the rear area, a large communal table with an ample planter offers seating space for 10, beneath a lighted, printed-glass cuboid structure.


On the walls, elegant coat racks and ceramic lamp-holders combine with small oak elements, made of wood reclaimed during the building work.

Café Coutume is a sophisticated venue for both coffee consumption and education: its design leaves nothing to chance or anything unfinished, offering an excellent example of retail architecture.

Matteo De Bartolomeis

Matteo De Bartolomeis

Born in Milan, a career in professional publishing with a significant interlude in behavioral and methodology training. He went digital and experienced first-hand the birth and rise of the internet, working in IT publishing in the 1990s. Has been working for 12 years with and for Suite magazine and on b2b publishing projects for the contract and hotel industry, with special focus on the international evolution of design, on trends and transformations in the relevant markets and the role of social media in the industry.