In Japan, the spirit of monodzukuri finds its way into a sculptural beauty salon

Tokyo – As a small island country with limited resources, Japan celebrates the spirit of monodzukuri: ingenuity in the service of craftsmanship. 'From a single sheet of paper folded into a variety of shapes, emerged the art of origami,' architect Moriyuki Ochiai explains. 'From a single bolt of fabric was born one of the country’s most iconic garments, the kimono, and from a single piece of cloth, used to wrap and carry objects, came the furoshiki.'

In Crystalscape, Ochiai's finite material is aluminium, which he bent and buckled into an austere planar surface that curls across the ceiling of this 110-sq-msalon. The luminous metal sculpture also symbolizes the ideal of well-being and expresses 'the bright, aerial, gracious way' that hair cascades around the face. These undulations evolve at seated eye-level from simple intersections of lines into a layered latticework inserted amongst planar grid objects and finished in a gradient of white to wooden tones.

Top: In places, the architect dropped the ceiling and increased the density of the art matrix to create a more intimate space. | Bottom: The aluminium waves reflect and blur the deep lavender of the painted concrete box that encloses the shampooing area, separating it from the cutting and styling section.

The ceiling scatters diffused light as it reflects off the coiling aluminium, so that clients experience a constantly, softly shifting space. The metalwork amplifies and broadcasts changes in natural light, making them palpable throughout the day and across the seasons. That shifting light also generates variations in the purple and powdery silver tones on the walls around the shampooing area, giving the space a hushed effervescence.

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

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