French XIXth Apothecary, Tokyo

Designed by: Ramdane Touhami
For client: Officine Universelle Buly Floor area: 48.00 M² Year of completion: 2017

オフィシーヌ・ユニヴェルセル・ビュリー本店 Photo By Kozo Takayama

The view from the entrance of the boutique. Two contradicting spaces representing the French 19th century on the right and Japanese 21st century on the left.

About the Project

French XIXth Apothecary in Tokyo is a surreal encounter of two contradicting countries and eras in one space that is cut exactly in half. The right half refers to the Paris of the past with sophisticated carpentry, woodwork, noble marble and the warm colours of bronze and brass. The intense light of the left half gives the impression of a futuristic and clinical modern pharmacy from 21st, if not 22nd century Japan.

The openings within concrete walls are filled with translucent luminous blocks, which clearly show the plants and flowers stuck inside the resin. With the appearance of antique preservative jars, each block shines in the natural light.

The glass windows of the cabinets shine with mysterious blue lights, creating a cold and clinical atmosphere. The space is perfectly divided in half, with a golden brass line in the middle of the boutique to indicate the contradicting spaces while harmonizing critical eras.

Inspired by the Japanese kintsugi technique which repairs broken ceramics with gold powder, the bi-cultural space embodies the value of unity and embracing the different.

What’s unique about it

The objective of the design is to give the impression of harmony between two different eras and countries. The space represents Ramdane Touhami's declaration of love toward his two favorite cities, as he finds contemporary Tokyo the most interesting city in the world, just as Paris was during the 19th century, which is when the brand Officine Universelle Buly was originally founded. More than its physically immersive experience, the store gives customers a feeling of digital manipulation and binary experience, as the highly photogenic space strikes visitors as a Photoshopped collage brought to life.

Along with traditional product formulas inherited from the so called Golden Age of the French cosmetic industry, the brand carries all-natural oils extracted from plants, some of which are preserved in the transparent blocks.

オフィシーヌ・ユニヴェルセル・ビュリー本店 Photo By Kozo Takayama 4

The modern side of the boutique. The natural light is passing through the transparent blocks and luminating plant resins stuck inside.

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19th century French apothecary inspired side of the boutique. The beauty of this side is emphasized by dark wood cabinets, marble counters and tiled floor which were fabricated by French savoir-faire techniques.

オフィシーヌ・ユニヴェルセル・ビュリー本店 Photo By Kozo Takayama 5

Glass window display glaring blue lights to enhance the clinical sensation of the room.

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Golden brass line dividing two critical eras. The method was inspired by kintsugi, a Japanese technique to repair broken ceramics with gold powder.

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The details of the division. The method consists the merging and embracing value.

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Exterior design of the building. Contradicting yet harmonizing view of a cement wall and plant resins is impressive.

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The view of the stairs to the entrance. Intense blue lights give an impression of a modern clinic.

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Exterior design of the building. The design was inspired by Japanese complex yet beautifully simple modern architect.

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The designer, Ramdane Touhami with his wife and co-developer, Victoire de Taillac-Touhami are standing on each contradicting parts as if one is from the past and the other is from the future.

Credits:
Victoire de Taillac-Touhami

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