Market maker: Village streets inspire urban shop design

21 : 02 : 2014 Yusuke Seki : Nakagawa Masamichi Shoten : Toyko

Tokyo – In Japan, there is an ever growing dichotomy between the fast city, drunk on technology and advancement, and the slower pace of rural communities. Inspired by these small communities, designer Yusuke Seki, sought to bring a dose of tradition to a Tokyo retail space.

Nakagawa Masashichi by Yusuke Seki, Shoten-gai Nakagawa Masashichi by Yusuke Seki, Shoten-gai
Nakagawa Masashichi by Yusuke Seki, Shoten-gai Nakagawa Masashichi by Yusuke Seki, Shoten-gai
Nakagawa Masashichi by Yusuke Seki, Shoten-gai Nakagawa Masashichi by Yusuke Seki, Shoten-gai
Nakagawa Masashichi by Yusuke Seki, Shoten-gai Nakagawa Masashichi by Yusuke Seki, Shoten-gai

In small towns, there is normally a shōtengai, a shopping street much like a high street which often grew out from the town’s train station. It is where people gather to shop after a long day’s work and where the town’s artisans hawk their wares.

Seki was commissioned by fabric manufacturer Nakagawa Masamichi Shoten to recreate this marketplace atmosphere within its retail space at Tokyo Midtown shopping centre.

‘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,’ says Seki.

The use of electrical signboards and wooden merchandising stalls all reflect the shōtengai way of life. For more on designers taking inspiration from local surroundings, read our Crafted Locale design direction.

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