After designing two Parisian locations for Coutume – the flagship in 2011 and a coffee cart for the Finnish institute in 2013 – local architecture office Cut was asked to develop the café’s first international outpost in Tokyo.

The architects say they aimed to maintain the strong brand identity they’d already established for Coutume while integrating some site-specific elements, such as small local plants and Japanese tubular bulbs.

Basing the interior concept on a Parisian coffee shop/laboratory hybrid, Cut split the space into two. The entrance – or laboratory – is demarcated by a white grid ceiling fitted with LED panels that illuminate the bar below. On the other side, a panel-free grid maintains the same aesthetic while making the interior feel more open.

Photos David Foessel