Le Cordonnier is a “Bouchon Lyonnais” (the French term for a simple traditional restaurant in the gastronomic city of Lyon) in the heart of Tokyo.
The restaurant’s name makes reference to the previous owners, who ran a neighbourhood shoe repair shop (cordonnerie in French).
Greatly appreciated by the local inhabitants the old business has a new lease of life thanks to the present owners’ wish to conserve it’s memory.
Drawing on all these elements I chose to combine, within the same concept, the atmosphere of a typical “bouchon lyonnais” and the soul of the old shoe repair shop whilst integrating the whole project within an architectural style typical of central Tokyo.
For this reason I have left the exterior in it’s original state. However a large neon sign hangs outside to help distinguish the restaurant in this residential district.
The entrance is a true “rite of passage” between the outside world and new ones within.
The door is painted in a black lacquer, reminding us of pianos, an instrument that I admire, an instrument that has the power to transport.
A pair of old shoe lasts exposed in the floor are a souvenir of the past.
The space is divided by plywood “bas-reliefs” which decorate the rooms.
Normally considered a cheap material it however has a certain nobility thanks to it’s elaborate motifs, which literally transform the place.
The lighting is deliberately low, allowing the black walls to converse with the wood panelling.
The lampshades, mostly bought from antique shops in and around Paris, are an integral part of the decor, softening the space and adding an unexpected twist.
The graphique charter, however, is pure French tradition. The restaurant’s logo reflects good old fashioned bistros whilst the Vichy table mats call to mind an improvised country picnic.