Beishu Gallery is located in Taito area of Tokyo, a bit east from the center, where traditional craftsmanship still remains vibrant and prosperous on every corner of the streets.
Beishu is an esteemed high-brand of traditional hina dolls (girls’ court dolls from the classical era). The high reputation of the brand was established by late Hara Beishu, dollmaker, who eventually received the first and the only national cultural property title in the industry.
The goal of the project was to design a multi-functional space to serve as entrance, gallery and showroom on the ground level of fourty-year-old Beishu Building.
Two different zones reside in the space. One in the front is the entrance and gallery which boasts a 3.8m-high ceiling. Furniture is made easily movable in order to assure flexibility. Pendant lights illuminate the beautiful dolls from close and generate impressive shadows.
Beyond the gallery, steel shelves float in overlaying rows in the iconic showroom zone. Each set of dolls hover in its own small world, like in emaki-mono (Japanese picture scrolls) where each scene is depicted between the golden clouds. Every plane of the shelf drifts like a trailing cloud and acts as a stage to embrace individual story of each doll.
In order to give a weightless feel and at the same time to control flexure, thickness is independently adjusted by computation. Far-back wall glows from a relatively intense indirect light, which render the space in a bright cloud with gentle nuances in shadows. Straight steel shelves and amiable faces of dolls live in a dream-like harmony.
As a whole, two zones are seamlessly associated by floating tiny scenes. Contrast in shadows generated by the different types of lights adds to the depth.
Just as the dolls are created carefully by the craftsman, who pays attention to every detail, design pursued the same approach in order to provide appropriate scene for the dolls, treated here like real pieces of art.
Shop window was also a part of the design. Study involved creation of countless open-work patterns. All of them inspired by traditional Japanese art. In the end, a reinterpretation of traditional Japanese cloud pattern was chosen and printed onto thin film, which was then placed on the shop window. As a result, soft sunrays filter through the dot gradient on the façade and enfold the whole space of the entrance, showroom and gallery.
Sasaki Architecture is an architecture studio based in Tokyo, Japan. We seek to re-interpret architecture's position within cultural practices that determine meaning, particularly within will of our era.
The investigations traverse not only conventional notions of space, enclosure, and order but also the fluctuating frames that define spaces.