A modern, magnificent, and unexpected place exists in the backstreets of Roppongi. With beautiful architecture and design from the outside, the venue’s interior displays thought-provoking art that continuously flows through the space, via temporary exhibitions.
The National Art Center offers art lovers an opportunity to enrich their cultural sensitivity while feeding on the “art of the day”—their latest temporary exhibition, letting them bask in sophistication after spending time in this design-rich, soulful environment.
Located on the first floor, the casual Cafe Coquille commands attention with its tall ceilings, open space, and glass windows. The spacious area feels liberating, but makes one feel small in comparison to the greatness of the works on display. The feeling can be likened to being caught in the tall bamboo groves of Kyoto, amid a torrential rain in spring. One can get lost in the art and the grand design.
The relaxed vibe makes Coquille accessible, and the casualness exuded is at odds with the elegance, exquisiteness, and grand architecture of the establishment.
Among the art, visitors can enjoy a coffee and absorb all the creativity of artists past and present. It’s an opportunity to ponder the works, for those seeking a quiet respite. It’s rare to have this type of cafe and venue in Tokyo, where space is at a premium.
Coquille serves coffee and snacks, the latter of which include sandwiches (from ¥480), Häagen-Dazs ice cream mini-tubs (¥300), poundcakes (¥280), and baked goods such as curry bread (¥220), steamed buns, and seasonal specials.
Sipping your coffee, you can make notes of your thoughts and reflections of the exhibition on a serviette, as would a true art aficionado. Or sketch your own design in a moment of creativity.
Many come just to drink their cappuccinos in silence and gaze through the window. The chairs stare outward toward the tall glass panes. The nature and the lush greenery are a relaxing oasis for the eyes. Even on a day that was dreary, rainy, and windy, the view was serene.
I held my cappuccino and did the same, pondering the art, the photo exhibition, the arrival of autumn, and the luxurious space the café provides, feeling as small as an ant nestled in an underground acorn.
Cafe Coquille. 1F National Art Center, 7-22-2 Roppongi, Minato-ku. Nearest station: Roppongi. Tel: 03-5770-8164.