Can construction materials offer a solution for quicker, more affordable and reusable retail fit-outs?

Tokyo – Countless designers have cited the ‘unfinished’ and ‘under construction’ aesthetics as inspiration. They’ve told tales of seeing materials awaiting installation – stacks of plasterboard or even pink fibreglass insulation and data cables – and had the sudden desire to stop there: not to conceal these oft-hidden elements but to elevate their status.

A number of Japanese designers have adopted this methodology – Jo Nagasaka of Schemata Architects is one of the movement’s better known names. For Daisuke Yamamoto, a former Wonderwall staffer, the aesthetic reflects the ‘scrap and build’ cycle that’s gaining ever more momentum in places experiencing rapid development, such as his home base of Tokyo. Like many of his peers, he finds beauty in the process of construction and detailing. But he says there’s also a ‘feeling of anticipation; making something new means destroying something old’.

For the Beautiful People fashion boutique in Tokyo, Yamamoto and team decided to spotlight the materials that are usually hidden by decorative finishes to draw attention to their inherent character. His main matter of choice? LGS, or light gauge steel, which is typically used for in- and exterior framing. Whereas the material is usually placed at intervals to serve its structural purpose, the designers abutted one sheet to the next. By doing so, ‘we created a unique expression of partitions for the fitting and stock rooms, which are key components for a retail store’, says Yamamoto.

The choice wasn’t only an aesthetic one, though. The benefits of using LGS included saving time and money – and having the ability to reuse the material at a later date. Yamamoto was able to reduce the typical three-stage wall-construction process – LGS, fireproof boards, paint finish – to just one step. And, because the panels are screwed together, they can be easily disassembled and repurposed. 

Beautiful People’s raw-material message continues to displays made from stacked fireproof gypsum boards and a stool that combines resin-coated electrical wire and Styrofoam. ‘Rather than decorating the space with layers of materials we are bound to destroy,’ says Yamamoto, ‘our design concept is to simply use the first layer and seek the beauty that lies beneath what we see.’

de-sign.jpn.com

Read about more retail spaces here.

LOCATION 3 Chome-16-6 Minamiaoyama, Minato City, Tokyo 107-0062, Japan

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