Tokyo – Although architecture naturally does not exist for the sake of being recorded, it has been recorded by means of still images or photographs for a long time. We learnt and thought about architecture designed by other architects mostly through still images. For this reason, we usually take it for granted that our work would be presented through still images. Even when we explored the notion of movement in our design, it was difficult to present the idea; the notion of movement could be understood from the aspect of function but not from an aesthetic aspect. Therefore, we never had a chance to really focus on movement in design.
Recently, however, we grew accustomed to seeing moving images on social media on a daily basis, and we can also easily record our work by shooting a movie with our smartphones. This was probably the reason why I developed a strong interest in movement these days.
Designers overlooked the importance of store atmosphere and, as a result, people often made remarks such as: "Well-designed shops don’t serve good food"
One most the most important aspects in shop design is a vibrant store atmosphere, but I feel that the designers have not paid much attention to creating or designing such an atmosphere. In fact, designers overlooked the importance of store atmosphere and even tended to avoid thinking about it until recently and, as a result, people often made remarks such as: ‘Well-designed shops don’t serve good food.’ Here my challenge is to analyse, describe and evaluate this aspect.
Some of the first projects focusing on this theme are the Takeo Kikuchi Shibuya flagship store and the space we designed for Today’s Special in Jiyugaoka, which both were completed right after the 2011 Great Tohoku Earthquake. The frontage of the space for Takeo Kikuchi was extremely wide but had shallow depth; if the front façade is all glass, pedestrians would see through the entire shop from Meiji Dori Avenue and wouldn’t even need to step in to see the products. On the other hand, customers in the shop would feel uncomfortable being always exposed to the public while shopping.
In order to avoid this situation, we made full use of the three floors to extend the shop vertically, to gain spatial depth, and provided some space for people to stay. More specifically, island-style furniture units of open wooden boxes assembled back-to-back were placed in the shop and circulation routes were assigned to wrap around them, guiding people to move through the entire space to see all the products. There are two vertical circulation routes and five entry points along the front street and the back garden; we eliminated a register counter and provided multiple circulation routes instead, so that customers can freely move about the space and that the staff can assist customers on a one-to-one basis.
This helped alleviate the rather formal atmosphere, while smoothly leading people upstairs. On the upper levels, the first floor has some spaces for people to stay and see Mr. Kikuchi’s atelier, and on the second floor is the café – so that people would stay longer. As a result, a vibrant shop atmosphere is created.
Customers in the shop would feel uncomfortable being always exposed to the public