Tokyo Baby Cafe--a mother-and-baby shop set to open in Japan--is somewhat redolent of Lewis Carroll's Alice in Wonderland, with its pale blue-and-gray color scheme. Add the fact that it caters for both adults and children, and all that's missing is a cake labeled "Eat Me" and a bottle marked "Drink Me."
Everything in the space works for both adults and kids. The nursing sofa doubles as a playroom and diaper-changing table, and there are even paintings on the undersides of the tables, for the children to enjoy while their mothers drink the Kool-Aid.
Floorboards and windows come in both adult and kid size, and there are even two sizes of lightbulbs. Door handles and light fittings are placed far above the reach of little fingers.
There are private rooms as well as public spaces, and the cafe is awash with picture books and toys, although there is enough space for easy maneuverability of baby strollers.
The shop was created by Nendo, a Japanese firm headed by design wunderkind Oki Sato, which is heading off to the Milan furniture fair with a trio of beautiful objects: a vase, a paperweight, and a cup.
Peel is a tea mug, a small section of whose rim has been peeled away to rest either the spoon or the string of the tea bag. The lid can be used either to keep the drink hot, as a receptacle for the discarded teabag, or even--shades of Spanish tapas here--as a dish.
The paperweights (which are named period. comma, "quote") act like a filing system--a take on the In, Pending, and Out trays you see on a business desktop. Period is for work completed, comma for work in progress, and the quotation mark keeps your messages separate. They are a collaboration with Takada Seisakujo, an aluminum casting specialist firm from Japan.
Think of dress-up, a trio of unglazed white porcelain vases, as a family. Although they look uniform when viewed from behind, in front, each one is sporting a different collar. And the porcelain feels like cloth to the touch.
[Photographs by Jimmy Cohrssen, courtesy of Nendo]