Japanese design team cooks up aluminum-framed drop-in cafeteria
Architects, it seems, are increasingly interested in transforming a building's use without making permanent changes to the fabric itself. If the BEEBOX we covered in January (a sort of drop-in, self-contained office desk) is exhibit A, then B is an altogether grander intervention. A design team led by Tokyo's Masatomo Kojima has cooked up ROKU Edogawa, a flexible aluminum structure designed to transform any interior space into a cafeteria.
Technical details are relatively scarce, but what we can report is that ROKU Edogawa is a modular system, in order that it can be spec'd out to match the size of varying interiors.
The designers have chosen extruded aluminum for the shell due its strength-to-weight ratio. These aluminum rings are reinforced with steel plates, before panels are fitted to create the floor, ceiling and walls. LED lighting is integrated into the frame. It appears that ceiling panels are optional, and may be left out if the preexisting lighting is deemed snazzy enough (or if it can't temporarily be shut off – a ceiling covering active lighting would be rather wasteful). No welding is required in assembling the structure.
None of the images show kitchen facilities of any kind, and so ROKU Edogawa ultimately prettifies a space by masking the existing drab surfaces with a shiny metallic skin. Whether it makes sense to do that probably boils down to permanence. The press release hints that the system is well-suited to "live concerts and shows" that may call for a dramatic overhaul in a short space of time.
That the system is reusable helps to justify the amount of material in use. For a permanent cafeteria, this extra material is harder to justify given that the space will already have a floor, ceiling, walls and lights of its own. Under such circumstances, and old school refit is perhaps still the best option.
As to where the actual coffee comes from, Gizmag isn't short of ideas.