'Life and death, demise and vigour,' says Ito Masaru, describing the interiors of his Chinese flagship for Isamu Katayama Backlash. It is a spot-on description of this unusual boutique, a space in which 'ruins and paradise co-exist'.

Backlash eschews the mass market, hand-crafting leather garments and accessories using experimental techniques. Having designed the brand’s first Tokyo flagship, Masaru follows up with this 92-sq-m shop inside a windowless bunker-like room. An interior wall divides it into two flanking spaces: on one side, a lounge and cash desk; on the other, the fashion. A large cross cut from one section of the wall offers intriguing glimpses of the room beyond, but this section can also pivot open, like a turnstile, to create two passages between rooms.

Top: A pivoting section of the interior wall is a door that allows visitors to pass from one room to the next. The door's cross-shape cut has become a signature of the brand. | Middle: The lockers, which Masaru distressed to look like ruins of themselves, store limited-edition garments. | Bottom: Two facing walls of mirror reflect a row of eight monolithic lockers into infinity.  

Facing mirrored walls in the second room infinitely reflect and exaggerate the dimensions of the dim space. On the right, limited-edition Backlash products are stored in eight large, wall-mounted, back-lit lockers, suspended above the floor and painted to look distressed with age. On the left, a living wall of dazzling green plants thrives behind glass. While the lockers recall hulking ruins, the greenery and glass proclaim the opposite. By juxtaposing the rough, old and austere with the new and unblemished, Masaru has imagined an almost sacred space that radiates strength and renewal.


This project was featured in the latest volume of our retail-design series, Powershop 6. Get your copy here.