TOKYO — Idol, a brand new café, shop and event space in the Aoyama district, could become one of the city’s most fashionable hot spots.
Idol is the brainchild of Eiji Hatanaka, a designer and creative director who has worked on a variety of projects from hair salons to restaurants. The 5,340-square-foot space, located in a basement beneath a Muji Café, was previously a bar and event space run by music production and promotion company Avex.
The shop portion of Idol sells fashions and accessories by Japanese and international brands including Somarta, G.V.G.V., Christian Dada, Yuima Nakazato, John Lawrence Sullivan, Ann Demeulemeester and A.F. Vandevorst, as well as Byredo perfumes and Knock Out nail polishes. There is also a “cleaning lab” by the Laundress, which sells the brand’s products but also offers professional cleaning services.
“Starting from next season we’ll do some buying in Paris and continue to strengthen the offering,” said Hatanaka.
Anchoring the space is Idol’s café and bar, which opens for lunch, dinner and late night drinks. Menu items include soups, pasta and sandwiches. There is also a vast offering of cocktails and other types of drinks, a welcome development for an neighborhood with few drinking holes. Worn wood floors, exposed ceiling ducts and raw concrete walls are complemented by white topped café tables with iron bases, mismatched vintage metal and wood chairs, and dark leather sofas.
A long, high table at one end is lit by an assortment of antique library lamps. A DJ booth and an improvised stage made of wooden pallets are used during special events, such as Idol’s opening party on Friday.
“I wanted to keep the good atmosphere of the building’s skeleton,” Hatanaka said. “I didn’t want to make it too pretty…I left it raw so that it can be used for a variety of purposes by many different people.”
The space behind the cafe is even more raw, which is exactly what makes it so unique. Hatanaka said he plans to use the open space for fashion and art exhibitions, private events and parties, and to rent it out for use as a photography studio. The space is divided on a grid, and each rectangular section can be cordoned off with industrial roller shutters to provide privacy and allow it to be used for multiple functions simultaneously.