Location: Aoyama, Tokyo

    Year: 2018 Spring

    Area:221.8 Sqm

    Contractor: &S

    Photo: Junpei Kato

  • Chocolate Inc. is a Tokyo-based digital studio / creative agency. A young company with growing members in their 20s and 30s, they first approached DAIKEI MILLS with two things. A candidate site for their new office – an unconverted two-storey townhouse with a great location in the backstreet of Omotesando / Aoyama -, and a simple request “to create a space where people want to come and hang out, that has a bit of contemporary ‘street’ vibe.”

    Since the client was comfortable in handing over design direction entirely to DAIKEI MILLS, and the site stood as an ordinary residential home with only limited blueprints available, it was decided that discussion of any design ideas was to be held off until the walls and ceilings and other trappings were completely stripped. Once the skeleton was revealed, the wooden-structure of traditional Japanese townhouse with its grid-like posts and beams came to the fore.

    The finished space make the most of the original wooden structure, even adding some more wooden grids to accentuate the pattern

    and blurring the line between the original element and the new structure.

    Palette of materials being used here are kept to a minimum, and strictly no-frills. Plywood, tube-pipes and clamps (the kind often used in building-site scaffolds), black-tinted glass, cement-bonded wood fiber – in other words, the kind of industrial materials that commonly surround us in our daily urban existence.

    Most obviously striking element is the structure made of dark steel pipes and clamps that function as wall / partition. The spacing between each horizontal lines are designed to let through just the right amount of gaze and sound. The curved tubes have neon light inside them to provide a source of light.

    It is perhaps such unusual application of common industrial materials that bestow the space its distinct semblance – of being approachable yet sophisticated; familiar and relaxed, yet meticulous and calculated.