From bonito to building exterior: Schemata Architects plays with continuity

TOKYO – Schemata Architects creates a minimal retail interior so seamless with the existing structure, the earthy red façade appears to continue inward to the fittings and to the products themselves. The design of the Yagicho-Honten store is led by the founder of the acclaimed firm, Jo Nagasaka, who will be deliberating on the best retail spaces of the year in his role as a Frame Awards jury member. In his own design, Nagasaka introduces an innovative concept with an inconspicuous checkout counter and inclusive layout.

The traditional Japanese dried food store has a 280-year history selling such culinary staples as katsuobushi (dried bonito), kombu seaweed, and shiitake mushrooms. Analogous to these three ingredients – fundamental to much of Japanese cuisine – Schemata Architects crafts the elegant interior with three basic elements: wood, copper, and bare concrete. The colour of dried bonito is similar to the original red exterior of the building, honouring both the history of the structure and Japanese cuisine as the hue is extended inward.

The unpretentious material palette includes muted-red MDF boxes, and copper accents in the fixtures and piping. Fair-facing concrete forms the clean background of the space, prioritizing the red display installations and clearly distinguishing the integral parts of the structure from ancillary interior fittings.

A central island eliminates the boundaries of a typical commercial space, filling the roles of both payment counter and kitchen while establishing a fluid circulation. Cooking classes are conducted in this central space, further enhancing the participatory and inclusive nature of the store.

The minimal muted red interior collaborates with the slender structure, creating a harmonious and visually cohesive space that doesn’t overwhelm with too many design ingredients.

Billboard: German Design Council
Billboard: German Design Council

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