Designed in the 1970s by noted Japanese architect Kenzo Tange, the Sogetsu Kaikan building stands apart thanks to its stunning half-mirrored curtain wall exterior. This feature figures prominently in the Nendo-designed interior office: the layout was situated to follow the L-shaped lines of the building, essentially replicating the exterior angles inside.
Attention to detail was further paid through the crafting of custom-made aluminum windows that are facsimiles of the originals, whose dies and moulds are no longer in production. Mirrored partitions framed in black mimic the windows, and pale wood flooring was installed to align symmetrically with the curtain wall. Black furnishings and lighting form a graphic counterpoint to the pale wood and mirrored elements.
On the second floor, the café preserves Tange’s design. Nendo left the walls and ceilings as they were, and only reworked the floor and furniture. The wood for the flooring was carried onto the counter sides for a clean, uniform aesthetic; the countertops were clad in glossy black glass to match the grey mirrored ceiling. The original Eero Saarinen Tulip chairs in the lounge were refurbished and coated in a matte black paint, while the matching Tulip tables were treated to the same smoky glass as the ceiling.