Nearly 75 years old, Tokyo’s Majimaya shop for confectionery and bakery tools – on the 800-m-long arcade known as Kappabashi Tool Street – is surrounded by approximately 170 specialty stores dealing in kitchen supplies and the like. Majimaya sells tools all over the world, although one offer in particular – wooden moulds created by the late craftsman Hitoshi Ohgawara at the store – has been a staple for over 60 years. To pay homage to the iconic products and their maker, architecture-design office Kamitopen executed a store redesign which features 3,000 different types of moulds.

Kappabashi Tool Street has over a century of history, founded in 1912 when a collection of tool dealers and antiquarians decided to set up shop in the area. Majimaya is positioned in a corner store, a short walk from the Japanese capital’s Asakusa Higashi Hongan-ji Temple. The retailer’s unmissable façade is forged from weathering steel in a deep orange-red, chosen by the designers for its longevity and durability.

Kamitopen was tasked to turn the 52-mspace into one which would enable the customers to see all of the moulds clearly and place a minimum of stress on staff. To turn the shopping experience into a more organic one for customers in the tricky arcade area, the designers opted for connected split-level floors. Shoppers are guided up and down throughout the space effortlessly with this layout.

The mould displays were introduced to the evacuation stairs and protective fences in the centre of the building, a response to limited space. Each sweets mould on show is linked to one of 3,000 accompanying numbered tin boxes, which customers can select and bring to the staff – products are then easily removed from back-stock for purchase.

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