Breathing new life into an old neighbourhood — that was the challenge for Taiwan design agency RND as the firm approached its latest job creating Shiba Café in the Xinxing neighbourhood of Kaohsiung. The first task was to take the premises back to basics, revealing once more the concrete skeleton built some 35 years ago. RND decided to use this original grey construction as the base for the new interior, adding onto it a blend of contemporary and vintage features to complete the look.
One of the most striking elements to the café, which sells Japanese rice balls and pancakes, is the glazed tiled façade. It’s an appealing sight contrasted with the roadway outside. The place is designed as an urban oasis, and the lush green exterior is an enticing sight from the street. Further glazed tiling, this time in white, appears throughout the interior; the material continuity adds to the sense of cohesion. As a balance to the shiny newness, RND has used salvaged chairs, bearing the evidence of many years being rigorously sat upon, in the dining area. They each have a letter from the café’s name stencilled on the back — try as I might I can’t think of any smutty words that cheeky employees might spell out by rearranging them. Any suggestions welcomed through the usual outlets.