Yusuke Seki designed this beautiful retail space named Nakagawa Masashichi Shoten-gai for a 300-year old traditional Japanese fabric producer’s store in the Tokyo’s midtown shopping complex. ‘Shoten-gai’ refers to a traditional shopping street, located within the centre of a (small) town, which one finds throughout Japan. However, the faces of these shopping areas have changed significantly over the years, with large drugstore chains and convenience stores replacing the local artisans. Inspired by the original shoten-gai and with the intention to recreate its charm, Seki designed a new type of market place; which is more suitable and competitive within modern life, but with a traditional character.
Electrical signboards are an essential element of the traditional shoten-gai and therefore couldn’t be absent in Deki’s design. Individual shops on the shoten-gai are unified by the same characteristic signboard, which marks the name and category of a store. This inspired the designer to use electrical signboards to mark different areas of the store with different products. The offering is rather broad, from utensils, furniture displays to categorized brands of socks, handkerchiefs, and house hold products. The middle shelves in the store are multifunctional, meant to resemble the central square of the shoten-gai.
Yusuke Seki states on the arrangement of the store:
In the same way that a city grows and develops by accumulating its people and building up the number of individual shops in one particular area, this shop was designed to reflect a growing market street, within a city central precinct.
We love this reinterpretation of a traditional concept and its worthy execution!
Photography by Takumi Ota.