NOTES

NOTES

11 27 2020

Osaka
Masahiro Harada

Across from Horie Park in Minamihorie, Osaka, there is a retail store that initially appears to be vacant. In actuality, it’s Shihara’s Osaka store that opened in the fall of 2019. Once the largescale doors built into the wall of the stark space opens up to reveal a wall full of jewelry, it reveals itself to be a jewelry store.

 

“Interior design isn’t my expertise — their lifespans are so much shorter compared to architecture,” says Masahiro Harada from Mount Fuji Architects Studio, the architect responsible for designing both of Shihara’s stores along with his partner Mao Harada, as we chatted with him at his studio in Yoyogi. “When we were first asked to design Shihara Lab that opened in Tokyo in 2014, we had a chance to see the jewelry in person for the first time and was explained that they were designed from a theoretical standpoint while updating the conventional rules, functions and structures of jewelry to a more clean, streamlined design. This made me realize that we were onto something very thought-provoking. The fact that he used platonic solids such as tetrahedrons and cubes in his jewelry not merely as a design motif but with a functional purpose resonated with how we see architecture. In many instances over the years, I’d seen interior finishes deteriorate as time passed, resulting in spaces with lessened commercial value. For the interior of Shihara Osaka, we focused on layering non-decorative materiality, similarly to how the jewelry is designed while considering the fact that platonic solids derived from ancient Greece, where so-called finishes didn’t yet exist. By adding a bare minimum amount of materials on top of each other for the sole purpose of its functionality, I’d come to realize that we weren’t creating just another short-lived interior space, but one that lasts and ages well. I think design is all about creating the most eye-catching figures. The even more important aspect is to know the context of a space and to keep it in mind before inserting any figures at all. Osaka is a city filled with figures — everything and everyone has something to say. With so much going on, we chose to go the opposite by being unintentional and essentially created a non-designed space. I consider this to be nuanced differently from minimalism, and rather a state of unintentional scrutiny. Passerbys may think that there’s a construction site or an exposed concrete space waiting to be rented, but when the large doors open up and the clear glass and white wall filled with jewelry appear from within, it reveals itself to be the jewelry store that it is. I think the store could be compared to the one quiet person in a room full of loud people — he’s oddly conspicuous and compelling. Osaka may continue to evolve, while Shihara Osaka will stand still in its timelessness as an eternal empty space.”

 

During the Edo period, the Horie district was once the red-light district. Postwar, it developed into an area known for furniture stores. It has now grown into what has become one of the most fashionable streets filled with small brands and boutiques alike. One street away from the fashionable Orange Street is Horie Park, where children play while suited businessmen devour their lunch. The park was built as part of the postwar reconstruction in collaborative efforts of the city and the people. We like to imagine the local children and cabinetmakers occupying the park when it first opened back in the day. As the city evolves, we hope the park remains an oasis within the chaos as Shihara Osaka quietly but conspicuously exists within its premises.

Across from Horie Park in Minamihorie, Osaka, there is a retail store that initially appears to be vacant. In actuality, it’s Shihara’s Osaka store that opened in the fall of 2019. Once the largescale doors built into the wall of the stark space opens up to reveal a wall full of jewelry, it reveals itself to be a jewelry store.

 

“Interior design isn’t my expertise — their lifespans are so much shorter compared to architecture,” says Masahiro Harada from Mount Fuji Architects Studio, the architect responsible for designing both of Shihara’s stores along with his partner Mao Harada, as we chatted with him at his studio in Yoyogi. “When we were first asked to design Shihara Lab that opened in Tokyo in 2014, we had a chance to see the jewelry in person for the first time and was explained that they were designed from a theoretical standpoint while updating the conventional rules, functions and structures of jewelry to a more clean, streamlined design. This made me realize that we were onto something very thought-provoking. The fact that he used platonic solids such as tetrahedrons and cubes in his jewelry not merely as a design motif but with a functional purpose resonated with how we see architecture. In many instances over the years, I’d seen interior finishes deteriorate as time passed, resulting in spaces with lessened commercial value. For the interior of Shihara Osaka, we focused on layering non-decorative materiality, similarly to how the jewelry is designed while considering the fact that platonic solids derived from ancient Greece, where so-called finishes didn’t yet exist. By adding a bare minimum amount of materials on top of each other for the sole purpose of its functionality, I’d come to realize that we weren’t creating just another short-lived interior space, but one that lasts and ages well. I think design is all about creating the most eye-catching figures. The even more important aspect is to know the context of a space and to keep it in mind before inserting any figures at all. Osaka is a city filled with figures — everything and everyone has something to say. With so much going on, we chose to go the opposite by being unintentional and essentially created a non-designed space. I consider this to be nuanced differently from minimalism, and rather a state of unintentional scrutiny. Passerbys may think that there’s a construction site or an exposed concrete space waiting to be rented, but when the large doors open up and the clear glass and white wall filled with jewelry appear from within, it reveals itself to be the jewelry store that it is. I think the store could be compared to the one quiet person in a room full of loud people — he’s oddly conspicuous and compelling. Osaka may continue to evolve, while Shihara Osaka will stand still in its timelessness as an eternal empty space.”

 

During the Edo period, the Horie district was once the red-light district. Postwar, it developed into an area known for furniture stores. It has now grown into what has become one of the most fashionable streets filled with small brands and boutiques alike. One street away from the fashionable Orange Street is Horie Park, where children play while suited businessmen devour their lunch. The park was built as part of the postwar reconstruction in collaborative efforts of the city and the people. We like to imagine the local children and cabinetmakers occupying the park when it first opened back in the day. As the city evolves, we hope the park remains an oasis within the chaos as Shihara Osaka quietly but conspicuously exists within its premises.

 

 

SHIHARA OSAKA
1-12-19 Minamihorie, Nishi-ku, Osaka
06-4394-8048