It seems like a no-brainer: Customers at laundromats are always looking for ways to pass the time, so why not design the utilitarian space in a way that helps people stay a while?
Over in the suburbs of Hamamatsu City, Japan, architecture firm Amp has completed the “Lavano” concept laundromat, one that combines a bunch of washers and dryers with ample spaces to lounge, socialize, and maybe buy some goods. All this with the clean lines and cozy simplicity we’ve come to expect from Japanese architecture, of course.
In the low-slung, horizontal building, laundry machines line the back wall, facing large glass windows, plus built-in seating and storage for laundry carts. And at the end of the hall, customers can cross over into a similarly airy hangout zone, where there are simple tables, chairs, a play area, concealed wall storage, and opportunities to purchase laundry-related products as well as vegetables and breads from local farmers.
Lavano is not the first to land on the idea of multi-tasking laundromats. In 2014, a “laundromat-bistro” opened in East Village of Manhattan. It has since closed, but word on the street is that another laundromat-cafe is now popping up across the river in Brooklyn’s Williamsburg.