Shigeo Ogawa

There are so many kinds of brushes in Japan, ranging from the traditional ones for calligraphy, to those for cosmetic use for women. This showroom was built for a brush manufacturer, who has been making this wide range of brushes for 200 years, and is for their main store in Kyoto.


It is a small, 2-storey building of reinforced concrete structure and is facing the Teramachi Street where many antique shops and old teahouses are located.


The cityscape of this area is indeed controlled by the ordinance of Kyoto City. Therefore, all the buildings are required to have traditional ambience, which incidentally supports the image of this company due to the nature of their merchandise. The question is, how much of the modern element can be applied to their space.


After numerous discussions with the municipal government, the design incorporating white, exposed concrete walls with wood grain pattern, the lattice on the front opening and a horizontal eave of wooden louvers, was finally accepted as proposed.


It was not intended to be a typically Japanese space of dim lighting and shadows, but rather an interior space full of natural light pouring in. For that purpose, the three natural sky lights set in the space made it so bright that it gives you the impression of being outdoors in the indoor space. At the same time, being an enclosed box-like space, it nevertheless gives a very open feeling inside.


The strategy behind this design is that, primarily it called for the best lighting for actually testing the brushes sold there. Simultaneously, the intention was to create a space full of light and also having something Japanese about it, first to display the world-renowned Japanese brushes and for those who come from all over the world to buy Hakuhodo’s internationally acclaimed product.