Japanese practice Torafu Architects has recently completed the NEWoMan Yokohama Store for Australian skincare brand Aesop. The selected L-shaped site is part of the local ‘NEWoMan’ mall premises, and has a 7.4 m wide frontage, and a depth of 16 m.
In view of Yokohama being the location, indigo dye was chosen to conjure up the image of the blue colour of the ocean. With the help of a collective called BUAISOU, a coloring of the wooden boards was finished with indigo dye (ai-some).
Located in Kamiita town of Tokushima Prefecture, an area of Japan known for producing Awa indigo, BUAISOU does everything from indigo cultivation and creating dye to designing and making products. After experimenting with several tree species, maple was chosen due to its compatibility with indigo.
A wall consisting of a succession of indigo-dyed boards form a gentle curve like a ship’s hull, over the rough mortar floor. With Indigo there is a noticeable difference between the hues of blue obtained depending on the condition of the indigo on that day, creating a natural gradation along the wall. Moreover, the light coming through the two windows changing the appearance of the indigo dye moment by moment.
The tube-type shelf was created using indigo-dyed aggregated natural wood corrugated into a wave form. The sink area and the island fixtures are finished in stainless steel, reflecting the color of the indigo.
Each indigo-dyed board has a rusticity and boldness not seen in a uniform material. The design was intended to create a store space that creates a feeling of the human hand and the power of nature.