Salon de thé Lausanne


Salon de thé Lausanne, a long-established patisserie in Kanazawa City, had to relocate to a new site, due to opening of Kanazawa Outer Ring Road. They commissioned us to design their new shop at a site near the existing shop in the land readjustment project area. When we first started, the site was a bare open land marked by unpaved roads, with an unobstructed panorama of the beautiful Hakusan Mountain Range. It is a corner lot at an intersection on the 55m-wide ring road. Although it had a balanced square shape, the large corner cut with its length exceeding 20m was an obstacle to planning.




Our client, who is the shop owner and master patissier, gave us two requests: Firstly the main feature was a shop and café, but he also wanted to integrate a factory and his house, which had been situated in a different place, into this program; Secondly he wanted to us to provide car parking with the maximum capacity, which allows for easy access from/to the two adjacent roads. Most customers are expected to arrive by car, which is typical in suburban roadside shops such as convenience stores. Therefore the car-parking plan was the priority issue in determining the building location.

We spent much effort and time to study how to create a strong architectural presence in this environment while resolving the car parking issue. What we wanted was not something monolithic and unsubtle like pinball parlors, nor something like superficially embellished restaurants that might go out of business anytime soon.

Here we wanted to build architecture of a modest scale, which exerts a strong architectural presence with a sense of elegance and a universal quality that stand the test of time. This shop should give a strong and vivid impression when it is seen from across the 55meter-wide ring road.


We reached the final plan, in which three cuboid boxes are situated around the right-angle isosceles triangle light court. We believe that simplicity and clarity are the key to counterbalance the scale of the 55meter-wide road.


The three boxes have the same height; the first one is a two-story house; the second one is a one-story shop; and the third one accommodates a cafe on the second floor and a part of the factory on the first floor. The triangular light court is elevated 2 meters above the shop floor level and accommodates the factory space underneath which is connected to the shop. Spacious front porch is provided inside the shop box adjacent to the 20-meter wide corner cut, and the shop facade is situated facing the intersection. Two parking lots along the frontal roads are connected by an entrance passage through the front porch.

Each box has a large frame-like opening in the wall. When seeing from the intersection, one can observe a sequence of framed interior and exterior spaces in multiple layers. In section, floor levels are gently elevated to generate gradual changes in space. These sequential layers create a multiple depth in space, where the detailed scale of the subtle art of pastry and the urban scale of the 55-meter wide road are integrated to achieve this unique spatial quality.


Exterior finish is a custom-made brick tile, and the beautiful color appears radiant and elegant in any weather- under the blue sky, in the rain, or in the typical snowy landscape of Kanazawa in winter. High ceiling is clearly visible from outside; stand lighting, equipped with both upper and down lights, is integrated in showcases in order to achieve the beautiful smooth ceiling without lighting fixture.

From the cafe, one can observe the vibrant urban movement at the intersection through the multiple spatial layers, and simultaneously appreciate the beautiful panorama of the Hakusan Mountain Range in the distance. We hope that this shop will become a distinct landmark in the new townscape, which will eventually be appreciated like Mt. Hakusan.



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