Nendo has turned interior architecture on its head in Kenzo Tange's Sogetsu Kaikan Tokyo building, where the renowned design studio has reimagined the Aoyama offices and Connel cafe.
Rather than starting from the notion of 'interior functionality', Nendo was influenced and inspired by 'the exterior aesthetics' of the 1977 building. The half-mirrored curtain wall exterior and planar construction of the Sogetsu Kaikan has been cleverly matched with diagonal flooring, L-shaped lines and an overarching minimal aesthetic.
'The result is an interior design that allows one to get a strong sense of the character and form of the building as a whole,' explains the design studio.
The pleasing minimalism of the offices continues into the cafe, located on the second floor. Keeping Tange's original design untouched, it was the floor and furniture that received the Nendo treatment here. 'Stream' flooring has been fitted to smoothly unify the partitioned space, creating a sense of consistency throughout. Glossed black counters and refurbished 'Tulip Chairs' by Eero Saarinen do the same via furniture and fittings.
The cafe itself is chiefly managed by Nendo, inspired by their growing collaborations with a wide variety of people.
'We have named it “Connel”; a play on the Japanese word “koneru”, meaning “to knead” or “to mould”,' they explain. The word 'nendo' itself means clay, a pleasing parallel that they've expanded on to create the logo (by taking the Nendo 'n' and bending it into two 'c's). A playful take on the name and logo can be found in the cups themselves, which have unique, kneaded handles as well. All in all, a beautiful play on words, lines and style.