His studio removed the floor slabs from the first floor of the building, creating a double-height space with an atrium-like feeling for the ground floor of the cafe that would have a connection to the surrounding park.
“In rainy Shanghai, we wanted to provide a place where people could enjoy the park even on rainy days,” Ashizawa told Dezeen.
“Also, looking at the overall plan of the park, I thought that a rich interior space was required,” he continued.
“The result is seen as a greenhouse, like those found in botanical gardens. I thought that adding a new story to the park would increase its enjoyment.”
From the ground floor, a long stairway leads down to the cafe’s basement level, which houses the main coffee counter.
The staircase in Blue Bottle Coffee Qiantan was designed to reference the colour of soil and have a cave-like feeling.
“We decided to create a cave-like space for visitors to appreciate the long stairway down to the basement, creating an experience that is like crawling through the earth in the park,” the studio said.
It also evokes the colour of red bricks, which are commonly used for Shanghai architecture. The same hue was used for the coffee counter and for a tall central wall.
“Shanghai’s brick architecture in the old city is a strong contrast to the architecture of modern Shanghai, and it leaves a very strong impression on the eye,” Ashizawa said.
“We wanted to preserve some of Shanghai’s image in this newly developed location and architecture,” he added.
“At the same time, since the cafe is located in a park, I wanted to create a sense of unity by using the image of earth in the architecture.”
On the ground floor, pale-wood stools are gathered around circular grey tables.
Downstairs, Ashizawa clad the walls in greige microcement and added wooden chairs, tables and counters.
Large trees decorate both the basement and the ground floor, adding to the cafe’s botanical atmosphere.
“The goal was to create a connection between the outside and the inside, with a natural form similar to that of the outdoor trees,” Ashizawa said.
Wooden benches also offer visitors the option to drink their coffee outside in the park.
The photography is by Jonathan Leijonhufvud.
Architect: Keiji Ashizawa Design
Project architect: Keiji Ashizawa / Chaoyen Wu
Lighting Design: Aurora / Yoshiki Ichikawa
Landscape Design: Hashiuchi Garden Design / Hashiuchi Tomoya