Influenced by the organic patterns found in plants, Kengo Kuma has created this shop and café in Tokyo for fashion designer Lucien Pellat-Finet. In his design, Kuma uses a honeycomb structure comprised of Lauan-made plywood to envelope the space. This three-dimensional structure ingeniously serves as the retail display system used throughout the shop; with the natural warmth of wood complementing a fashion line notorious for its assemblage of iconic cashmere sweaters.
The studio’s concept for this store was towards to a tender and warm organic shape. The pattern formed on the surface of a plant was inspiring for its architectural use. Seeking the balance between cost economy and the creation of various organic patterns, a “vegetable wall” was conceived, made of structural plywood layered in a thinly sliced veneer in combination with specially conceived aluminum connectors.
With a repeating pattern of pentagons and parallelogram, extending further in the interior like a cave, this solution created a honeycomb-like internal space with lots of different cells. By changing the section’s cutting, each cell in the wall has acquired a practical application either as shelf or box to place products. Rather than setting in an individual wall or furniture separately in the shop, the studio created a single, sequenced and functional wall that covers the entire space.
This “vegetable wall” grows like a liana, from the café in the basement towards the boutique on the 1st and 2nd floor, thru the library on the top floor. Among the “vines” cashmeres comes out like fruits born from the plant, the direct result of a collaborative approach between fashion and phytomorphic architecture.
This collaborative work was joined by the library director Mr Haba so that books containing various different worlds were inserted in the organic texture. The wall texture, growing upwards and spreading like a plant, bears fruit of knowledge on the top floor.
Since the opening of Tokyo Midtown’s shop, the owner dreamed of a champagne serving boutique. This was finally realized in Shinsaibashi. The plant-like organic texture in the aboveground floors is also stretched around in the underground to an unusual space in which the customer’s senses are wrapped up by the roots of the “plant”. Lively conversations from the guests at nights will “nurture” the organic texture spreading further out into Shinsaibashi.