inter office ltd, Osaka Branch/Showroom

Nacasa&Partners inc.

On the second floor of this eight-story, glass-sided building, we were invited to design an furniture showroom with office. It would have been easy to create a tranquil environment that allowed visitors to engage with the furniture by building a wall in this space which, due to the glass exterior, was exposed to the tumultuous atmosphere of the city. But instead, we wondered if there wasn’t a way to encourage this dialogue while making the city seem faraway. In thinking about creating distance instead of closing off the city, we came up with the idea of adding a layer of “fabric” inside of the glass facade.

Gazing out at the city through the white fabric creates a sense of “distance” that far exceeds the imagination. But at the same time, the distance disappears under the white lights of the cocoon-like interior, making it impossible to judge exactly how far one is from the actual city.

Another unique feature of the space is its flooring, which goes from pumped-earth to aged Japanese-tile finish, on to teak, and then segues into a black-and-white, reverse marble-patterned carpet. On entering the showroom, the sensation underfoot suddenly changes to a rough, outdoor-type surface, then to tile made of a natural material, and finally to a weathered tile floor. Eventually, one arrives at familiar wooden and carpeted surfaces, and reaffirms the fact that one is actually in a protected, indoor space. This design was inspired by the Japanese architectural notion that the garden is connected to the interior, and theoretically speaking, we thought that a space where people encounter something as tactual as “furniture” should be both visual and tactile.