Japanese architect and designer Ryusuke Nanki has recently converted a two-story residence in Aoyagi, Yamagata Prefecture, Japan, into a restaurant and grocery store, featuring a garden to grow vegetables. “We opted for what could be described as the ‘remix’ approach,” explains the design team. Borrowed from the Japanese pottery tradition, the term “yobitsugi” refers to a method of repairing broken pottery with an intentional emphasis on heterogeneity. When a vessel chips, the craftsman will deliberately patch the damaged portion with non-conforming parts from other pottery, drawing attention to the damage through contrasting patterns that go beyond the purview of repair to impart a new, unique sense of individuality.
Applying this method to the architectural use, the goal was to create a dynamic atmosphere, incorporating the old wood and sense of space with bold, individual patterns and colors. A distinct green color palette facilitates the shop’s conceptual design focal point, echoing a verdant, light-filled forest. Featuring a combination of old and new lumber, the open stairwell provides a sculptural accent, bathed in soft greenish-light.
Louvered entryway detailing was painted to reveal green stripes depending on the viewer’s vantage point, and the ceiling in the fresh produce section outfitted with fluorescent lighting angled to correspond with the logo. These flourishes orchestrate a dynamic visual effect throughout the ceiling and open stairwell area. Notably, the design also showcases a contrast between old materials and new objects, such as the countertop connected to old beams (which had to be preserved due to structural considerations.)
“We believe that renovation encompasses more than simply replacing the interior/exterior with new and pristine material,” says Ryusuke Nanki. “Rather, as this project demonstrates, renovation can also encompass an organic outgrowth based on daily discoveries over the course of construction. By embracing the spontaneity and responding in turn with a bold sense of individual identity, this project attained a higher synergistic level, filled with unforeseen innovation.”