Situated in a back street in Collingwood Melbourne, CIBI breaks down established boundaries between food, retail and creative space. Opened in 2008 by husband and wife team Zenta and Megumi Tanaka, CIBI is one part select store and one part café. A deftly curated selection of design classics like cutlery and cookware by Sori Yanagi, Hakusan porcelain and contemporary collaborations such as the SIWA range of paper products designed by Naoto Fukusawa sit beside a café that focuses on providing locals much needed sustenance.
Zenta Tanaka – with his background in architecture and design – has designed a café and store that successfully articulates the kind of lived in, industrial and eclectic design aesthetic that references the tenets of the slow architectural movement. Reclaimed materials, industrial elements like steel and formwork blocks are littered throughout the space. Subtle details abound, marimekko prints linger amongst found vintage furniture and a vintage Apple Mac is used as a doorstop. Display tables are created out of asymmetric trestles designed by Zenta himself and timber that was sourced from disused timber yards.
Complementing this approach to design, Megumi-san’s food philosophy is as much about celebrating fresh ingredients as it is about the juxtaposition of traditional Japanese home style food and contemporary western cuisines. There are several dishes that continue to resonate with the regulars. The Japanese breakfast, fragrant rice, shiozake, bean salad and tamago comes with a hearty homemade miso soup that epitomises the simple heartfelt approach to their food. This embedded sense of soul is also present in dishes like the refreshing soba noodle salad and bean, sourdough bread and avocado CIBI breakfast – everyday food elevated and enriched into something special.
Copyright Leon Goh & SHIFT 2012