Kyoto Komamehan


Project info

Location: Kyoto, JAPAN
Area: 325 sq. ft
Project Type : Retail
Status: Completed, 2021

We were approached to design the flagship store for Komamehan, a traditional Japanese sweets manufacturer in Kyoto, Japan. Komamehan, currently run by third-generation owners, was established in 1908 and has been in sweets manufacturing for over hundred years.

Situated in the historic city of Kyoto, our approach to the design of the store was to marry the traditional sense of materiality with contemporary sensibility, while following the traditional Japanese elements inherited from long-established stores. We sought to express an attractive atmosphere that Kyoto has to offer in terms of comfort and spatial experience by reinterpreting them in a modern way in terms of materiality, scale, and choice of materials. The materials ranged from exposed polished concrete floors with brass inlay, bass wood shelves and stucco plaster mixed with local soil. The goal was to create an experience for the user, as a meander, where the variety of sweets sold slowly reveal themselves. The form of the shelves references the gentle mountains that surround Kyoto, with curvilinear edges and layering to generate contours. This in-turn creates the meander that users traverse.

The construction for the store entailed working with traditional carpenters from the region and it was a challenge to find ones who had the technique to construct the curvilinear shelves. As these are hand-crafted, the process for fabrication involved detailed drawings as well as working closely with the craftsmen to produce the shelving. The brass pieces for the inlay were also custom manufactured by a local fabricator.

Noren, or the traditional curtains that shops have, was also custom stitched by hand in a unique shape by local artisans. We used the Mizuhiki style Noren or the short curtain with a bow shape that bears the name of the shop. The fabric is a cotton-linen composite.

The corners, where the walls meet the ceiling were rounded to allow for the seamless spread of stucco, thus suggesting a sense of expanse for the space this size. Soil from the place was used as one of the ingredients in the stucco, making the project grounded in place. Several iterations were made to test the colour and texture of the plaster to achieve the perfect backdrop for the display. The muted palette for the shop, helps enhance the product that comes in vibrant and colourful packaging.

Producer :冨永博嗣(豆富本舗)Hirotsugu Tominaga
CD/AD/D : 小山唯香 Yuika Koyama
photographer : 衣笠奈津実 Natsumi Kinugasa
Fabric:有限会社中むら / NAKAMURA inc.
Web : 株式会社 エヴォワークス EVOWORX Co.,Ltd
Construction:株式会社 IWAKI STYLE