Kuwabara Shoten

Designed by: Jo Nagasaka/Schemata Architects
For client: KUWABARA SHOTEN to+ Co., Ltd. Floor area: 91.90 M² Year of completion: 2018
Submitted for: Bar of the Year

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© Kenta Hasegawa

Customers can use beer bottle crates to sit on or stack a few of them to create a makeshift table at a convenient height according to their drinking styles. This system provides flexibility to meet various needs in this store. We also cleaned and recycled the existing aluminum sashes and tents as much as possible, while also newly putting up a neon signboard. By so doing, we succeed in designing a refreshed façade incorporating something old and new on the whole.

About the Project

We designed a “kakuuchi” (customers buy drinks at a liquor store and drink at a standing bar inside the store) style "izakaya" (Japanese-style pub) a 5-minute walking distance from Gotanda Station, where a family of thirteen–– consisting of a great-grandmother, two grandfathers, their sons and their respective families––live. This building originally started out as a warehouse and then eventually turned into the "kakuuchi" style store. Our idea was to brighten up the place so that customers can gather and enjoy the fascinating experience at this "warehouse-turned-izakaya."

The existing steel racks, storefront windows, the existing floor, walls and ceiling, and the store awning were preserved as much as possible, while implementing subtle design interventions here and there so that people notice that "it looks almost the same, but something is different." As a result, the "storage-turned-izakaya" revived itself and started to circulate the air around it. As a result, the backstreet lined with parking lots and storages, which had been a sort of "backyard" behind this neighborhood for a long time, is beginning to look like a street where something interesting is happening. Customers can use beer bottle crates to sit on or stack a few of them to create a makeshift table at a convenient height according to their drinking styles. This system provides flexibility to meet various needs in this store.

What’s unique about it

We demonstrated a new approach to store renovation in this project. We responded to the client's requests for a new program integrating liquor sales and bar business by closely observing and reorganizing existing conditions and implementing minimum necessary design interventions, while retaining the charm of the existing warehouse and respecting the beautiful bond among the client's family. As a result, we successfully created a flexible store space for a new type of business (liquor sales + bar) as well as providing a pleasant work environment for the multi-generational family.


We incorporated a user-driven renovation method integrating the existing and new elements seamlessly so that the store continues to evolve along with the growth of the business and the family. This renovated store also contributes to instigating a small-scale urban regeneration of a side street, which had been a "backyard" behind the neighborhood for a long time, by brightening up the gloomy impression of the run-down building and generating a lively atmosphere and vibrant activities. The store welcomes new customers and local residents equally, in the same way it embraces the coexistence of the existing and new elements.

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© Kenta Hasegawa

We worked side by side with the customer family in this project from the planning stage to the construction stage with the intention of making the shop an enjoyable place to work for everybody in the family.

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© Kenta Hasegawa

We recycled steel racks used in the existing warehouse to design tables, chairs, glossary shelves, a kitchen and a refrigerator for sake.

2 Kuwabara Shouten
3 Kuwabara Shouten
8 Kuwabara Shouten
181222 0372 Kuwabara Shouten
181223 0773 Kuwabara Shouten
Location of project:
Credits:
Schemata Architects

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