‘t Japanse Winkeltje, opened in 1976, sells a variety of Japanese products, from ceramics to kimonos and paper. The design brief asked for giving the shop a total makeover, providing it with a new image. The materials and architectural concepts used are generally associated with Japan, but they are applied in an unconventional and playful way. The shop is an ensemble of many different materials and items. The careful selection of soft, natural textures in combination with white, grey and natural colors creates coherency, richness and a distinct, quiet atmosphere.
We wanted to approach the task as a parallel investigation into material use and Japaneseness, and out of three initial ideas we selected the tactile-space as our concept. Taking the starting point in the different items sold in the shop combined with a selection of materialities and textures it creates a variety of ways of displaying the different products. The challenge was to arrange the long and narrow space in a manner as open and airy as possible. The solution was transforming the basic elements of the space itself – walls, floor and ceiling – into display surfaces with each an own character.
The renovation places traditional Japanese architectural concepts and materials in a new context. The material choices reflect the fragility and lightness of the items sold in the shop. The interior is partly handmade out of materials such as paper, bamboo en textiles, turning the shop into a piece of ‘haute couture architecture’.