Irumando Coffee Tokyo, Kodenmacho Café Design, Japanese Architecture, Japan Dining Interior

Irumando Coffee Kodenmacho café

26 April 2022

Design: Senbunnoichi Inc.

Location: Kodenmacho neighborhood, central Tokyo, Japan

Irumando Coffee Tokyo, Kodenmacho café facade

A camera obscura that makes the landscape abstract.

Photos by Miho Urushido

Irumando camera shop in Kodenmacho:
Irumando Tokyo, Kodenmacho camera shop

Irumando Coffee in Kodenmacho, Tokyo

The Kodenmacho neighborhood of central Tokyo was for over half a century home to a beloved camera store called Irumando. The task for Senbunnoichi Inc. was to convert the camera shop into a modern-day coffeehouse while preserving its history and name.

Irumando Coffee Tokyo, Kodenmacho café, Japan

With memories of the camera store as the architects’ starting point, the architects considered several designs, imagining customers musing about the passage of time over coffee.

Irumando Coffee Tokyo, Kodenmacho café

The building is small, with less than thirty-three square meters of floor space on each of its two levels. To take full advantage of this limited space, Senbunnoichi Inc. constructed vaulted ceilings to blur the edges of the rooms and installed dim lighting to create a mysterious, other-worldly atmosphere.

Irumando Coffee Tokyo, Kodenmacho café

The café achieves an effective blend of tranquility and spiritual depth, evocative of the special huts used for Japanese tea ceremonies. The key design innovation by Senbunnoichi Inc. was to turn this dimly lit, confined space into a camera obscura.

Irumando Coffee Tokyo, Kodenmacho café, Japan

The Latin term “camera obscura” means a “dark room.” It refers to an early type of camera that harnesses a natural optical phenomenon. The camera obscura device is also called a pinhole camera, which was used in ancient Greece and China.

Irumando Coffee Tokyo, Kodenmacho café

In the café, when light passes through small holes in the wall beside each table, an inverted image of the streetscape is projected onto the opposite wall of the coffeehouse. This creates ever-changing abstract reflections of the outside world, inviting customers to contemplate the transient, elusive images.

Irumando Coffee Tokyo, Kodenmacho café

Tokyo is a place where architectural heritage is prone to disappear due to continuous urban development. In this age of uncertainty, Irumando Coffee recalls the days of the former camera shop and the passage of time through both its name and design.

Irumando Coffee Tokyo, Kodenmacho café, Japan

Senbunnoichi Inc. have sought through this project to lovingly preserve and pass on narratives of the city.

Irumando Coffee Tokyo, Kodenmacho café, Japan

Irumando Coffee Tokyo, Kodenmacho café, Japan – Building Information

Project name: Irumando Coffee
Architectural design: Senbunnoichi Inc. (principal architects: Yoji HAYASHI, Shinichi MAMIYA, and Kazumi MURAYAMA)
Project management: Shinichi MAMIYA and Ryoken KAMIYA

Irumando Coffee Tokyo, Kodenmacho café, Japan

Location: Kodenmacho, Tokyo, Japan
Completed: 2020

Irumando Coffee Tokyo, Kodenmacho café camera obscura

Photography: Miho Urushido, Neoplus Sixten Inc.

Irumando Coffee Tokyo, Kodenmacho café images / information received 260422 from Senbunnoichi Inc.

Location: Kodenmacho, cantral Tokyo, Japan, eastern Asia

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