Architect Waro KISHI’s 21st century Japanese Minimalism Hakuhodo Shop
Comments by Architect Charles Bernstein, A.I.A.
Kyoto-based architect and Kyoto University professor Waro KISHI, designed the Hakuhodo building, the showroom for a traditional brush maker, set on an old-style street in downtown Kyoto. The scale and design is well rooted Kyoto-style machiya (townsman house) architecture, but utilizes modern materials such as glass and poured in place concrete. Unlike much of the postwar development in the city, Kishi's design honors the integrity of the traditional neighborhood with a 21st century Japanese minimalist sensibility.
Harmonious in scale and proportion, the modernist façade of this showroom for a traditional brush maker, presents itself to the street in a modest and respectful way. Unlike much of the postwar development in Kyoto, Waro Kishi's design honors the integrity of the traditional neighborhood and is well rooted in the Kyoto-style machiya (townsman house) architecture. The carefully balanced composition of floating wood screens lend an air of mystery to the passerby, requiring an up close approach before the inner space reveals itself.
Upon entering, a symphony of natural light literally pouring down from above fills one with warmth and repose. The minimalist interior attains that rare blend of simplicity and richness, a characteristic of the best of traditional Japanese architecture. Each element and material is clearly defined yet beautifully related to one another to form a symphonic composition of light, space and material.
The masterful introduction of Light is brought into the space through a linear opening in the roof and second floor that washes the textured concrete wall on the first floor. An artificial light strip on the opposite side lets the ceiling float, making the spatial experience even more expansive.
A large square skylight brings more light down through the second floor and into the heart of the first floor by a glass enclose shaft that culminates in a black element on the floor.
The museum-like display of special brushes is treated with the utmost respect, replacing the typical retail display with an almost contemplative experience. This is further enhanced by the generous amount of space for one to move around within the stillness.
See more of Waro KISHi works at http://kassociates.com/
Hakuhodo produces fine brushes in the Hiroshima area （ http://en.hakuho-do.co.jp/）. Their line includes special brushes for applying makeup, calligraphy, Nihonga (Japanese painting), oil painting, design and for Industrial purposes.
Photography by Shigeo Ogawa
The works of Los Angeles-based, architect, M. Charles Bernstein, A.I.A., can be found at http://www.mcharlesbernstein.com/