It is a well-known fact that diplomatic relations between China and its industrialised neighbour Japan are far from cordial. But in spite of this the need for cultural exchange between these countries seems to be increasing visibly with China's rapid growth – even if this exchange is still very one-sided at present.
The Facade of the Romantizism boutique at HangZhou
The Japanese architect Keiichito Sako was one of the first to recognise the potential for his architecture in the growing giant China, and in 2004 he opened his studio in Beijing. The inconsistency and instability of construction in China provide the 38-year old Sako with the opportunity to build in enormous dimensions and quantities – an opportunity which no other country can offer him at the moment and for which he was prepared to put up with the obstacles which were placed in his way during his move to Beijing.
The entrance of the boutique
"In China a lot of things work in a different way to Japan. Decisions are taken quickly. The scope that is given to me as an architect combined with the general appetite for what is new – these are all things which improve the status of architecture."
One of Sako's latest projects is the interior design of a boutique for the Romatizism fashion label. The impressive entrance already prepares shoppers for the visual experience which awaits them. As if it were being sucked in by the interior of the building, an organic net is drawn from the facade through the entire interior of the boutique, adapting itself to the individual sections of the space and functioning as a room divider, presentation area, counter, seat and railing. The elaborately modelled, bone-like structure consists of a net made of reinforcing steel which is sheathed in polystyrene foam and finally covered in laminate painted white.
The interior design for the Felissimo boutique, on the other hand, makes a less organic impression. The reduced room elements and furniture are attached to anchoring points which follow a strict pattern.
Felissimo Boutique at Beijing
A project on a larger scale is the three-storey Beans bookshop in Kanazawa.