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Kyoto Wand: A Fusion of Old and New in the Heart of Kyoto

Images: Yoshiro Masuda

Located at the heart of Kyoto City, this project involves the meticulous renovation of an authentic Japanese townhouse, that serves as accommodation for day tourists. Just a 5-minute walk from Kiyomizu Gojo Station, its strategic location ensures easy access to Kyoto's iconic temples and shrines, while the city's unique geography, nestled within a mountainous basin, makes it a magnet for tourists and outdoor enthusiasts. Inspired by the Wand river formation, the Kyoto Wand Café by Coil Kazuteru Matsumura Architects provides a serene respite for those seeking the tranquility of Japan's former capital. Reflecting its namesake, KYOTOWAND, it aspires to be a gentle and inviting place for all visitors, whether coming or going.

The renovation process involved careful bledning of historical elements with innovative techniques and technologies.Stripping the structure back to its authentic form allowed the architects to uncover its inherent charm and character, enhancing the unique Kyoto townscape. The seamless blend of past and present is further reflected in the expansive glazing that spans across the building's exterior, erasing the boundaries between inside and outside. A bench crafted from half-sawn chestnut logs on the driveway adds a rustic yet elegant touch, inviting visitors to pause and immerse themselves in the atmosphere of Kyoto Wand.

Once inside, Kyoto Wand unfolds as a versatile gathering place. From the welcoming reception area to the open kitchen and garden-facing table, every detail has been meticulously designed to foster an environment of comfort and engagement. The architects thoughtfully incorporated the existing wooden beams, pillars, and earthen walls, marrying them with modern elements, such as indigo-dyed wooden panels and washi paper-adorned countertops. The upper floor, with its exposed beams and white walls, serves as a flexible seating area, doubling as a space for art exhibitions, a testament to the dynamic nature of Kyoto Wand's design.

Collaborations with artists and designers have further enriched the interior. Glass pendant lighting, sculptures, and photographs breathe life into the space, creating an immersive experience that transcends the boundaries of a traditional café. Kyoto Wand's operation is equally distinct, relying on a time-based fee structure and electronic devices for ordering, emphasizing efficiency without compromising the café's unique ambiance. From light snacks and inclusive coffee beans to a carefully curated selection of Japanese black tea, Kyoto Wand aims to provide a holistic traveler's experience, one that mirrors the rich tapestry of Kyoto's culture and landscape, transcending the conventional notions of a café.


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