For the new Connel Coffee shop in Tokyo’s Minato ward, the designers at Nendo kept the walls and ceiling intact and revamped only the floor and furniture. The space invites customers to relax and connect.

Located on the second floor of the Sogetsu Kaikan building, designed by Pritzker Prize-winning Japanese architect Kenzo Tange, Connel Coffee displays a number of carefully designed features. Collaborating with Masumi Hotta of Nomura Co., Ltd, the designers wanted the space to reflect the elegance of the iconic building.

“The café is chiefly managed by Nendo and, inspired by our ever-growing collaborations with a wide variety of people, we have named it Connel,” the designers said. “It’s a play on the Japanese word ‘koneru,’ meaning ‘to knead’ or ‘to mold,’ as in molding a piece of clay.

“The word nendo means ‘clay’ in Japanese. The café’s logo has been designed by taking the ‘n’ from the Nendo logo and bending it to form two C’s.”

The flooring that stretches from one side to the other also runs up the counters. This creates consistency and helps to emphasize the transparency of the upper half of the walls. Reflected in the ceiling, the flooring and the greenery outside create a striking effect.

Black countertops mirror the ceiling’s dark note in a glamorous, minimalist way. Original Tulip chairs by Eero Saarinen were revamped with matte black paint and are accompanied by Tulip tables with glossy tops.

Nendo’s versatile projects include its Chocolatexture Collection of sculptural truffles, as well as its minimalist Twig Chair, a furniture piece with a powerful character. The firm’s Connel Coffee project showcases the designer’s love for details on a larger scale. [Photos by Daici Ano and Takumi Ota]