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Shiotatsu in Ureshino City, Saga Prefecture, where the project site is located, has been designated as a national preservation area for a group of traditional buildings. The area is lined with townhouses with exterior walls covered with white plaster, creating a landscape full of historical sentiment. Facing the main street of the district, this project involved the renovation of a warehouse once used as a bank, into a flagship store for MILKBREW COFFEE, a brand created through the collaboration of dairy farmers and coffee roasters. The client, Nakashima Farm, is also famous for processing dairy products such as cheese, and we were asked to plan a café for milk brew coffee and a laboratory for the development and processing of dairy products.

What was required in order to proceed with the project was the fact that the storehouse was designated as a registered cultural property by the national government, thus the exterior, covered with white plaster, could not be altered in any way. On the contrary, there were no issues regarding the inside of the warehouse, however, since the owner of the warehouse had maintained it with care, the clay walls, wooden walls, and the roof structure of the ceiling were all in a well preserved state. Therefore, we decided to arrange the necessary functions while maximizing the existing conditions as much as possible, rather than completely renewing the interior.

First of all, the cafe function, which required to offer takeout and standing counter servings, was placed at the entrance of the warehouse. The counter and wall displays were made of white artificial marble inspired by the pure white milk, and the joints were finely finished to create a smooth textured mass. In addition, given the impressive impact of the roof structure on the ceiling, the floorboards of the attic were removed from the top of the cafe space to maximize the feeling of the intensity of the warehouse. On the other hand, the laboratory function for dairy products was designed with a new set-back wall to create an independent space within the warehouse while maintaining the existing earthen and wooden walls. The wall behind the café space was made of glass, enabling visitors to feel the live atmosphere of the lab space from the café side, as well as to create an integrated space of the storehouse with its new functions. Additionally, new automatic doors were installed inside the existing wooden sliding doors at the entrance to the main storehouse. At first glance, the exterior of the storehouse appears to be the same as the original, yet we wanted to create a situation where this new atmosphere pervades into the street in front. It is our hope that through this renovation, this place will contribute to the streetscape and vibrancy of Shiotatsu as a base for the communication hub of MILKBREW COFFEE and the home of new creation to the Nakashima Farm.

Client: Nakashimafarm
Type of Project: Renovation
Use: cafe&laboratry
Period: Nov 2020 – Jul 2021
Floor Area: 80m2
Location: Saga, Japan
Design: Koichi Futatsumata, Koichi Shimohira, Mitsuki Kuboyama(CASE-REAL)
Construction: Jikuu-kenchiku-koubou
Lighting Plan: Tatsuki Nakamura(BRANCH LIGHTING DESIGN)
Logo Design: Ikki Kobayashi
Photo: Hiroshi Mizusaki

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