ARAS Journal regularly collaborates with chefs in a dialogue to expand the range of how ARAS can be used and prepared at home. Continuing from the previous issue, this is a dialogue between Mr. Kenji Okauchi, owner of CAFE FACON, and Mr. Tatsuya Uemachi, representative of secca inc. who is in charge of ARAS design. They talk about the flavor of coffee, the relationship between coffee and tableware, and the "comfort" that lies behind them.
Specialty coffee shops in Nakameguro and Daikanyama (Roaster Atelier). Conceptual store design and a menu focused on originals (home-roasted coffee, homemade sweets, sandwiches). Offering original coffee beans at top Michelin Guide starred restaurants as well as boulangerie and patisseries of famous chefs in Japan and abroad In October 2019, opened a produce store in Jakarta, Indonesia.
Designing for Comfort
Deliciousness" begins even before the coffee is consumed. Comfort" may be hidden not only in things that make a statement, but also in elements that blend in. Coffee and design have something in common.
I get the impression that you both value the time spent enjoying coffee and life with coffee utensils, including the "feelings and scenery that exist beyond the point where the object reaches the person". What do you keep in mind?
All I want is to make people happy. What can we do to achieve this? When I think of all my guests as "guests in my home," I want them to enjoy themselves. Customers come to the ...... café for a variety of purposes: dates, meetings, to spend time alone, and to enjoy conversation. We look at the customers at that time and how we can satisfy their situation.
If they are feeling a little down today, we think, "How can we make them feel better? Can this be communicated in the form of "taste" or "communication"? I always try to create a situation where the customers can relax and enjoy themselves by looking at the customers at that moment.
I think that factors prior to technique are important. It is the part that cannot be quantified. In the first place, it includes love for the store, love for coffee, and all such layers. For example, even if you hang a picture in the store, if there is no love for it, it will not be visible even if the framing is distorted. You can't notice the discomfort. However, if you are conscious of "making the customers feel comfortable" and "displaying the paintings in the best possible condition for the artist who painted them," you will be able to notice even a 1mm discrepancy. I think it is important to have a thought that you cherish.
I think in my own way, "If I do something like this, I think it will make them happy. This is exactly what I am thinking about. While it is a prerequisite to refine one's skills and manners as a professional, the first step is to create a relaxing space.
For example, when it comes to taking an order, if a customer is impatient, it is better to go quickly. For a laid-back customer, going to the table too early may make him feel rushed. Each person has his or her own pace, and if that pace is disrupted, it causes stress and changes the way the customer tastes the food later on. Even the same coffee will not taste good if you are irritated. In other words, it is important to be in harmony with each person's pace. In order for you to taste coffee at its best, it starts with the creation of the environment.
The word "design" is a side word, giving the impression of being fashionable. It seems to me that people appreciate it more when you create something that people say, "That's cool. However, designers also exist in places that are integrated into our daily lives. This is true of roaster panels and door handles, as well as infrastructure such as Braille and scaffolding for the blind in public facilities. In short, things that seem unassuming at first glance but are connected to making someone's life a little better. It is important to be a part of something that creates such value, and I would like to be a part of it.
Making something cool is easy in a way. There is a part of us that is close to self-satisfaction. I don't want to lose sight of what is important by doing something that satisfies my superficial need for approval. It should be most comfortable for me to do things "for others. That is why I strongly resonate with Okauchi-san's story. I have recently discovered that by suppressing something like my "self," there may be a view that I can see.
When I was shown the ARAS mug, I was very happy to see the attention to detail in the container. It is very rare to find a cup made with so much thought and care. There are many cups in the world that have a good design but are difficult to use. When I held this cup in my hand, all I could say was, "Wow! It is made with the "user" in mind.
First, the shape of the handle. The size fits perfectly. The middle finger hooks onto the handle, and without it, the burden on the finger is completely different.
The "principle of leverage" is designed so that the user can hold it without grasping it. There is no need to hold it with fingers. Therefore, you can concentrate on the taste naturally.
You can hold it easily without being conscious of it. There is no stress. The rim of the bowl is also thin, and I can feel the care for the mouthfeel. The curves on the outside and inside also show attention to detail. It is also nice that they can be stacked for practical use. It makes me wonder how much thought went into making this. It's a great discovery, or rather, a great possibility. ...... I'm glad I came across it.
Thank you for taking our thoughts into consideration.
The deliciousness of "mood" given by color
What kind of flavor we want to create can be likened to a color. Each flavor and aroma has its own color, and we mix them on a palette to create our own unique colors.
It is a visualization of flavors. It is very easy for me as a designer to understand. It's like saying, "Red and green fight each other.
The citrus flavor and color metaphor would be yellow or light green. With berries, it is red or pink. The flavor trend and the color are the same. By layering the colors, we can see what kind of flavors we are getting.
The relationship between color and flavor is interesting. When people recognize a color, they receive some kind of impression. It is similar to what Mr. Okauchi was talking about earlier about how the taste changes depending on whether the pace of the order is harmonized or disrupted. For example, information about the color of the cup also affects the taste.
The color changes the taste of the moment, doesn't it? At our Nakameguro restaurant, we use a variety of patterned dishes. I try to choose the right one each time, based on the mood of the customers at that time. We want our customers to enjoy a variety of dishes, so we basically choose different dishes from the last time they visited the store. If the customer looks a little listless, I will choose brighter dishes, or if the customer has a crisp image at work, I will choose sharp dishes, and so on. It is fun for us to "observe and choose.
It would be meaningful if we could take such an approach depending on the mood and atmosphere of the drinker. I feel that it contains hints of the "meaning of work" in the future of work. The vessel chosen will differ depending on the personality and feeling of the person working, rather than on a manual. It is in this genus-like consideration that I feel the possibility of the future.
Associated with Restaurant L'aube
We heard that you have been working with Restaurant L'aube for ten years. Okauchi-san's original blend of coffee is also available at the restaurant. What kind of conversations do you have on a daily basis while selecting beans?
Mr. Hirase, our patissier, will call out to us when it is time to switch desserts. He will say, "This is what I envision for the next dessert," and we will blend accordingly. I love the dishes and desserts that Mr. Imahashi and Mr. Hirase make, so I have a vague idea of their tendencies. If you ask me what the main dish is, the coffee that goes with it will also be decided. However, coffee is not the main dish in a restaurant. When you match it with dessert, the dessert is the star of the show. It should not be too assertive. I think first and foremost about the flavor that accompanies the food and dessert. It is easy for me to work with them because they believe in my coffee.
The next issue of Journal will be a collaborative interview with Shoko Hirase of Restaurant L'aube and Mr. Uemachi. Please look forward to it.