Store interior design is said to influence customer impressions and directly affect length of stay, repeat business, and sales. Recent trends in interior design include natural designs that make extensive use of wood grain and plants, and minimalist designs such as bare concrete and skeleton ceilings.

On the other hand, as consumers become more environmentally conscious, attention is being paid not only to these fashionable-looking restaurants, but also to those that are designed with sustainability in mind. In an April 2022 “Hot Pepper Gourmet Food Service” Research Institute survey, approximately two out of three respondents said “they would actively use restaurants that are environmentally and sustainability conscious”. In this column, we would like to introduce some ideas for sustainable and stylish-looking interior design, along with services and examples.

01. Interior design with artwork by people with disabilities

Recently, art by people with disabilities, also known as “para-art,” has been attracting attention for its rich originality, and the “Mos Burger Harajuku Omotesando store”, which opened in December 2021 as the flagship store of the Mos Burger chain, uses artwork by people with disabilities in its interior design, The interior design features artwork by people with disabilities, creating a space that resembles an art gallery. This is part of the “MOS Museum for Every MOS” initiative that the Mos Burger chain has been implementing since 2016. By creating opportunities for many people to come into contact with artwork, the goal is to create a bridge between people with disabilities and society.

In March 2022, 46 employees, including those working at the store, will obtain Level 3 of the “Universal Manners Test”. The company aims to provide appropriate support when serving a diverse range of customers, including the elderly, people with disabilities, people using strollers, and non-Japanese.

02.Using Washi paper and store interior subscribing service

The “SHI-KI” service operated by “O-line Inc.” allows customers to change their interior design from 40,000 yen per month, including installation, up to four times per year, depending on the four seasons.

Because it is constructed using Japanese paper, the cost, time, and waste associated with interior renovations can be significantly reduced. Furthermore, a wide variety of washi paper designs allow for arrangements in Western as well as Japanese styles. In addition to its ability to regulate indoor humidity and purify the air, Washi paper is a traditional Japanese craft that is sure to be appreciated by foreign guests.


[Related articles] “SHI-KI,” a store interior decorating sub-service using Japanese paper

03. Decorate art panels using kimonos and obis that are lying in the wardrobe.

Similar to the Japanese paper mentioned above, kimono is another traditional craft that is very popular among foreigners. While there is demand for hands-on services such as kimono dressing and rental, it is said that about 700 million kimonos and obis are left in Japanese households unused and unused. Because they are never worn, are difficult to care for, and require storage space, an increasing number of households are discarding them instead of passing them on to the next generation.

Marketing consulting firm “bonobo LLC.” operates “i-kasu”, a business that upcycles antique kimonos and obis. The company creates and sells interior art panels using kimono and obi fabrics that have outlived their usefulness as clothing. The panels sold at the official online store have a wide variety of designs, from traditional Japanese to modern. They are available in a wide range of sizes, so they can be coordinated to match the atmosphere and size of restaurants and hotel guest rooms.

[Related articles] Traditional crafts are used to create a space to attract inbound visitors. Turning Discontinued Kimono and Obi into Art Panels

04. using furniture subscription services

“CLAS” is a subscription service that allows individuals and corporations to freely and easily use and exchange furniture and appliances starting at 440 yen per month. The service aims to promote a cyclical “use without owning,” where people rent what they need when they need it and return it when they no longer need it.

The returned items are repaired or refreshed by professional repairers to make them ready to be lent again to the next user, thereby circulating the items instead of discarding them. The company aims to achieve SDG target 12, “Responsibility to Create, Responsibility to Use”.

[Related article] “CLAS,” a furniture and home appliance subscriber service, collaborates with Kyoto City to reduce the amount of large-size garbage generated.

05. Repaired, with tables and chairs

“United Arrows Ltd.,” a clothing and lifestyle goods company, launched the “RE:Store Fixture UNITED ARROWS LTD.” project in 2018 to repair and sell furniture and fixtures used in its stores. The repaired sofas, lounge chairs, and tables are sold as new products.

This project was initiated out of a sense of “what a waste” of furniture and fixtures that have been used in stores for a long time, and which have to be given away due to space design updates caused by store relocations, renovations, and other changes. The products include tables, chests, sofas, and other furniture purchased from overseas that have been used in the store since its establishment, original fixtures, and display fixtures, all with a deep sense of history. “FLYMEe”, a furniture and interior design website, from June 23, 2022.

[Related Article] United Arrows began selling new products by repairing furniture used in its stores.

06. Counters made of domestic wood with consideration for local production for local consumption

“Nœud. TOKYO” was awarded a Michelin Green Star and one Michelin star in 2022. The concept of this French restaurant in Nagatacho, Tokyo, is “all-sustainable French cuisine”.

The chef visits production areas to select ingredients produced in consideration of natural cycles in order to realize local production for local consumption and seasonal production for seasonal consumption, and Nœud. The walls are also made from recycled Azuchi-Momoyama period clay.

[Related articles] Introducing the efforts of the 12 restaurants that received the Green Star. Michelin Guide Tokyo 2023

07. Recycled cork stoppers collected from restaurants to make stools and tiles

The “TOKYO CORK PROJECT” is a project to recycle cork stoppers scheduled for disposal, mainly from restaurants in Tokyo, and introduce them to the world as new products and recycled materials. Cork is a natural material with many functional properties such as heat insulation, sound insulation, waterproofing, elasticity, light weight, and insulation, etc. According to a 2018 liquor tax survey, more than 1,000 cork stoppers for wine are discarded every month at a single restaurant, and in Tokyo, 150 million bottles, or roughly one third of all bottles in Japan are consumed annually. Tokyo consumes 150 million bottles of wine each year, or roughly one-third of Japan’s total wine consumption. The project has collected approximately 4 million cork stoppers (25 tons) at approximately 750 locations throughout Japan.

In the recycling process and product manufacturing, the company cooperates with facilities for people with disabilities to provide employment support. Together with various partners such as welfare facilities for the disabled and designer hotels, the company offers a wide range of lifestyle products and interior goods such as building blocks and stools made from recycled corkscrews.

08. Decoration using recycled materials

“Starbucks Coffee Japan K.K.”‘s “Starbucks Coffee Wadakura Fountain Park in the outer gardens of the Imperial Palace,” a strategic store for realizing a resource positive company, has installed artwork created by reusing discarded canvases, threads, and fishing nets on the ceiling and in the seating area. Recycled glass and washi paper are used for lighting that hangs from the ceiling, creating a warmth that can only be achieved through handcraft.

The furniture in the store is made of 100% domestic wood. The company places emphasis on long-term use through repairs, rather than replacing old furniture when it becomes outdated.

09. About 85% of waste from store opening construction is recycled.

“Starbucks Coffee Wadakura Fountain Park in the outer gardens of the Imperial Palace”, which was introduced earlier, uses environmentally friendly building materials as well as decorations.

Tile floors with CO2 fixation by kneading coffee grounds into them and fixtures made of thinned wood were introduced in the store. In addition, approximately 85% of the waste generated during store construction is recycled as raw materials for steel and paper, and the remaining 15% is thermally recycled into biomass fuel and other products.

10. Use compostable, renewable building materials

Located in “Awaji Nature Lab & Resort”, a sustainable garden in Awaji City, Hyogo Prefecture, the farmhouse restaurant “Haru-Sansan” offers locally produced and locally consumed cuisine, including home-grown vegetables and Awaji Island ingredients.

The restaurant was designed under the supervision of architect Shigeru Ban, winner of the “Pritzker Prize”, one of the most prestigious awards in the architecture industry, and utilizes environmentally friendly and renewable materials. The building uses “thatch”, which can be reused as compost, as a roofing material, and recycled “paper tubes” as construction material for the pillars.

11. Utilizing discarded portions of wood

“SHIRO CAFÉ” at Shibuya Hikarie, developed by the cosmetic brand “SHIRO”. Plastering materials based on natural materials are used for the counters and walls, and oak wood from Daisetsuzan, Hokkaido, is used for the central fixtures.

The white band of oak wood is called “shira-ta” and is the outer circumference of the wood. Normally, the white logs are cut off when they are processed into planks, but by using these discarded white logs, the softness of the wood is characteristically designed into the white unified space.

12. Decoration with surplus wood for Tokyo 2020 Olympics

“Trattoria qenaru”, an Italian restaurant in Okayama Prefecture, was the first in Chugoku and Shikoku to receive three stars in the ” Food Made Good 2022″ restaurant rating program for sustainable food systems. The restaurant uses a variety of woods for the ceiling, terrace, tables, benches, etc. These materials were selected based on whether they can be used repeatedly, can be returned to nature, or can be used instead of being discarded.

The round bars on the ceiling of the restaurant are materials that were prepared for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games, and the restaurant has taken back and utilized scaffolding round bars that were no longer needed due to the reduction in scale caused by the Corona Disaster. The log chairs on the terrace and in the restaurant are made with minimal processing, utilizing the shape of the trees as they are, so the amount of CO2 generated by the processing is low and the waste portion is kept to a minimum.

13. Use of wall materials derived from waste materials such as denim scraps and eggshells

Based on the concept of “zero-waste,” which aims for zero waste, zero-waste cafe & bar “æ(ash)” uses wall materials made from discarded denim for its stylish blue-gray walls.

“NURU DENIM”, a wall covering material produced by NIHON MTECS, is a product made from denim scraps discharged from major denim factories and upcycled into plastering material. Since no adhesive is used, not only can the texture of denim be preserved, but it can also be used again as plastering material by re-kneading it with water when it becomes old. It is a sustainable wall material that can be upcycled and reused. The company also manufactures and sells “Egg Paint,” a humidity-regulating and deodorizing paint, and “Egg Wall,” a wallpaper that uses eggshells as its main ingredient.

14. Reuse branches and leaves used in the past for seasonal decorations

The Ritz-Carlton, Kyoto has installed a 2-meter tall “Sustainable Christmas Tree”. In addition to the “Tanabata Bamboo,” “Dead Bonsai” and “Cycad” used last year, “Hydrangea,” “Dragon Willow” and “Grevillea” were newly reused this year. A total of six types of reused materials, each colored gold by hand by florists, were combined to create a gorgeous yet atmospheric Christmas tree.

In addition, a total of four decorations using reused materials, including “lotus seeds” and “loquat leaves,” which are new reused materials added this year, were installed at the entrance of the Italian restaurant “La Locanda”. In addition, a pair of decorations using reused “dead bonsai” and other reused materials has been installed at the entrance.

15. Utilization of flowers subject to flower loss as decorative flowers

Flower loss refers to flowers that are discarded because they have no place to go despite their beauty, or because they are out of standard in quality or size when shipped from the grower. In the floriculture industry, one billion flowers are discarded annually in the process from producers to consumers through distribution and sales, and the economic loss is estimated to be 150 billion yen per year.

“ethica Co., Ltd.” produces and sells “ethical flowers”, which are dried flowers made from 100% flowers that are subject to floral loss and dried using a unique drying technique. The company’s proprietary process differs from the usual dried flower production process in that it combines artificial drying using a dryer with natural drying to produce colors and textures that can only be expressed with ethical flowers. This initiative is also linked to structural and work style reforms in the floral industry, which has been overworked to reduce floral loss.

[Related Article] Flower Loss Target Flowers Become “Ethical Flowers” Using a Unique Process. Started crowd funding

Editor’s Note

How was it? This column introduced a wide range of building and wall materials that you should know about when opening or renovating, as well as furniture, fixtures, decorative items, subs and rental services that could be introduced after business hours or during short vacations.

As mentioned at the beginning of this article, it is said that store design influences the impression people have of a restaurant and directly affects the time spent at the restaurant, repeat business, and sales. In recent years, an increasing number of restaurants have been offering menus that take the environment and diversity into consideration, such as locally produced for local consumption, food loss, and vegan options, etc. By reflecting “sustainability” not only in the food but also in the store design, the restaurant can differentiate itself from other restaurants.

[Related Article]


[Reference site] Hot Pepper Gourmet Food Service Research Institute: Survey on impressions of environmentally and sustainability-conscious restaurant initiatives
[Reference Site] Awaji Island Restaurant “Haru San San” opens on October 31, offering locally produced and locally consumed cuisine including freshly harvested vegetables grown in-house and Awaji Island ingredients
[Reference Site] Mos Burger Harajuku Omotesando Store to Open on December 15 (Wed)
[Reference site] Learning appropriate support when serving the elderly and people with disabilities
[Reference Site] SHIRO Shibuya Hikarie ShinQs branch relocated and opened on April 1 (Thu), adding SHIRO CAFE where customers can enjoy original drinks
[Reference Site] [First in Chugoku and Shikoku] Saint-marc Innovations Receives Three Stars, the Highest Award for Sustainability in “Food Made Good” Restaurants, and an Environmental Award
[Reference Site] “TOKYO CORK PROJECT,” which recycles cork stoppers and disseminates them as new products and recycled materials, won the grand prize at the Social Products Awards 2021!
[Reference site] Publication of the status of implementation of the survey on the status of alcoholic beverages transactions (preliminary report) for the fiscal year 2009 (July 2009 to June 2008)
[Reference Site] Starbucks Coffee Wadakura Fountain Park in the outer gardens of the Imperial Palace, a strategic store to realize Resource Positive Company, opens on December 1 (Wed.). The first Greener Store in Japan to receive the “Greener Stores Framework”, an international certification for environmentally friendly stores.
[Reference Site] [The Ritz-Carlton Kyoto] “Sustainable Christmas Tree” made from used branches and leaves for the second year in a row
[Reference site] NIHON MTECS Ltd.

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