Caffè Bongo

Tokyo, 1986

Situated on Tokyo’s busiest pedestrian corner, Caffè Bongo defines a dramatic image, an arresting pop-classical collage. Bursting with a vocabulary drawn from the sub-cultures of music and fashion, the cafe’s aircraft-wing-meets-Piranesian-Rome aesthetic captures the fundamental design currents of the late twentieth century - and the desire amongst young Japanese to connect with the West. The irregular shell was remodelled into a dynamic sculpting of space that advances and retreats. The bar ‘buries’ itself within the wall, while the somewhat precarious curved balcony redoubles the height.