Schemata Architects has recently refurbished the Yagicho Honten dried food store in Nihonbashi, Tokyo. Yagicho is a dried food store with an approximately 280-year history dealing with traditional Japanese dried foods including katsuobushi (dried bonito), konbu (kelp), and shiitake (Japanese mushroom), three basic ingredients to make dashi (soup stock) that forms the base of Japanese cuisine.
The red color covers the building inside and out, looking as if the interior and the facades were painted red at once, but it is, in fact, the original color of the existing building. Observing that the red resembles the color of the cut section of dried bonito, the design team decided to use it as the base color representing Yagicho’s identity. Schemata Architects made wood boxes for display in the main store space out of MDF (medium-density fiberboard) in the same color, and placed them in stacks to create a space like a marketplace.
The main counter with a copper countertop at the center of the store serves as a kitchen to demonstrate how to make ichiban-dashi (first soup stock) as well as a cash counter. It is designed in an island style to instigate non-hierarchical communication between hosts and guests.
On sunny days, the store opens all doors and closely connects itself to the city and let people constantly flow in and out, while generating a vibrant atmosphere spreading to the city.
all images © Kenya Chiba