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Nihonbashi, Tokyo, Japan
Two lobby’s, two design proposals, one strategy, the pixelated wall design. 
EXECUTIVE LOBBY: The main purpose of the executive lobby is for company leaders to organise special client meetings. Since the client Mitsui Fudosan Residential owns an extensive collection of art of historic importance we decided to use this as a starting point for the design of this interior space. The painting ‘Pine Trees in Snow’ from Maruyama Ōkyo (1733-1795) is printed with sprinkled gold on washi paper, rendering it’s colours and texture exceptionally beautiful. The theme embraces the pine tree as a celebration of nature and fortune, the evergreen hues symbolise longevity and snow is a symbol of purity. In addition to the art collection Mitsui Fudosan Residential is also the owner of a sustainably managed pine forest.   We took inspiration from the historic ceramic Shino tea bowl. This is traditional Japanese pottery from the16th century, but to this day the use of shino glaze is still widely used, both in Japan and abroad. The glaze, composed primarily of ground local feldspar and a small amount of local clay, produces a satiny white color. It was the first white glaze used in Japanese ceramics. By emphasising the wall’s uninterrupted design it becomes the main identity of the space. Referring to the artistic and historic elements associated with Mitsui Fudosan Residential, the ‘Pine Trees in Snow’ and the Shino ceramics are featured in the pixilated design of the background.   For the ceramic tiles we chose to use local clay and feldspar identical to those used in the 17th century. From a distance your eye will recognise the painting by Maruyama Ōkyo. Additionally, the idea was to engrave the tiles with facts about the company that people would gradually discover as they look closer. One surface could for instance contain the names of other prominent buildings developed by Mitsui Fudosan Residential, another the names of employees and craftspeople associated with those buildings. The tiles would be produced with local ceramists to embrace their skills with the local materials and to stimulate the crafts in the region. The doors leading to the meeting rooms beyond are part of the continuous pattern and are meant to seamlessly blend in with the wall. Lobby hosts will be on hand to guide clients to the rooms where they have appointments.   Since the existing space does not offer daylight, we have instead included other natural elements to lend the space a more organic feel. The water fountain at the entrance refers to the traditional Japanese ritual of purifying oneself when entering a building. We also intended  the gentle sound of the falling water to have a calming effect on the visitors to the space.The shape of the brass inserts in the floor refer to the rippled patterns of traditional Japanese gardens.
MAIN LOBBY: This space was intended to be used to welcome regular clients and a place for them to await their appointments.   For the lobby we were asked not only to incorporate the logo of Mitsui Fudosan Residential into the space, but also to use wood from their pine tree forest in the design. By deconstructing the design of the original logo, interesting shapes appeared and we aimed to incorporate many of those lines into the patterns on the wall and the bespoke furniture.   To keep both lobbies within the same style, we continued the strategy with the pixelated wall design in the Main Lobby. The timber elements should be sourced from the sustainable pine tree forest owned by Mitsui Fudosan. These will appear as a layer on top of the painted logo patterns. The timber elements themselves could also contain more detailed information, eg. by 2D laser engraving abstract logos of the developments of Mitsui Fudosan Residential. Similar to the executive lobby we introduced a water fountain at the entrance and the rippled patterns of traditional Japanese gardens as floor inlays.