Location: Aoyama, Tokyo
Year: 2014 Spring
Area: 671.85 Sqm
Photo: Hideki Makiguchi
Text: Naoki Kotaka
The CIBONE opened in 2001, in the basement of the landmark retail complex, Bell Commons which occupied one corner of the crossing between Aoyama street and Gaien-nishi street. After 14 years of business the retailer moved across the street, to the second floor of the newly built office complex, coincided with the complex’s permanent closure.
Creation of the new store raised a key question; whether or not to restore the brand’s historical assets. We tried instinctively to sidestep the unavoidable problems of creating the ‘new’ store, nostalgia to or denial of the past. Instead we wanted to discover and analyze what had been done in the previous store and in revealing those traces and using them as generating forces for new design. There we created two floor levels covered in two contrasting shades of mortar, of which each level and shade refer to past and present. In that way we lay new conceptual ground to incorporate an otherwise invisible aspect of the brand history. We recycled a diverse selection of furniture built between 2001 and 2014 as remains of the previous store.
Their shapes vary: garment racks, dressers, tables, kitchen counters and display plinths. They are polished and resized for the past level and the rest are clad in white mortar for the present level, placed alongside newly designed furniture. Together the remains and the new build form a distinctive landscape which is unlike anything we could have invented; their forms and textures are actually a serendipitous gift. A wall-free layout and a fully grazed facade enable natural light to fully transmit to the interior space. A haptic and human quality of unified mortar finish harmonizes the project’s conceptual height with spatial comfort. The new CIBONE explored the brand history archaeologically allowing people to become time travellers, to retrace their memory, and excavate the store’s future.