Located in a mountainous area covered by 60 acres of ancient trees, Xinzhaiping Village is home to t... More
In a residential neighbourhood of the city of Fukuoka, this oval-shaped office and showroom by KATORI archi+design was designed for Maruhon, a manufacturer of natural wood for interiors. Highlighting the rich quality and detail of the brand’s products, the space is lined with the manufacturer’s high-quality wood materials. The effect is intended to evoke the feeling of being inside a large tree.
A key need for the client was a workspace and storage area to display approximately over 500 sample boards. Given the small site area of 70 m2, the architects creatively responded to the space challenge by transforming the building itself into a display for samples. Architecture, furniture and products merge functionally into a unified display.
Upon entering the showroom from a gently sloping street, one is immediately struck by a striking space filled with samples of natural wood. Windows are kept to a minimum, thus emphasizing the experience of being surrounded by wood.
The spacious two-storey atrium at the heart of the building begins a half-floor below ground, with a skylight over the second-floor office. The first-floor showroom and workspace is reached by descending four steps. Here, wrap-around shelves serve as a table where designers and clients can explore samples.
The exterior walls of the building are clad with Japanese cedar planks from the Tenryu region. Seamlessly interlocked, the planks emphasize a play of light and shadow. Furthermore, the planks are stained with natural plant dyes taken from leaves, berries and roots to give the wood added depth and interest.
The project has received full certification from the Forest Stewardship Council, the world’s most trusted sustainable forestry certification organization.
‘As time passes, we anticipate that the building will blend further into its surroundings, becoming as much a symbol of the neighbourhood as an iconic old tree,’ the architects say.