Architects: Yusuke Seki
- Year: 2015
Photographs: Takumi Ota
Text description provided by the architects. Maruhiro is the leading producer of Hasami ceramics which includes pottery and porcelain. Named for the region including Hasami, Nagasaki prefecture, this area has a history of ceramic tableware production and wholesale distribution dating back to the early 17th century.
A renovation of the pre-existing flagship shop, Yusuke Seki’s design marries an architectural knowledge to the artisanal know-how of the region, and in so doing, creates an entirely location- and situation-specific experience. Seki’s vision is to posit the designer as interpreter. His methods seek to amplify Hasami’s heritage by drawing out and translating the potential of the complete local environment, unifying its people. A minimal design interference, a modification in the level of the floor,not only utilizes the pre-existing space to alter the perspective and experiences held by the users until the present, but also gives birth to an entirely new sense of flow within.
Constructed of 25,000 pieces and in cooperation with numerous pottery factories from Hasami area, the conceptual and experiential focus of the design is a stacked central platform, layers of locally sourced imperfect tableware and poured concrete. Each of these pieces called “Shinikiji” in Japanese, were found to be flawed after the initial bisque-firing by their respective local production facilities. As part of his re-valuative design process, Seki revived these pieces, using them to make bricks, and transforming them to a new architectural material for this occasion.
Collected here, the stage is not only a representation of “Monohara”, the name given to the kiln-side specific areas where dispose its broken pieces on firing process, existing solely in Nagasaki, which have accrued these imperfect pieces for approximately 400 years—an archaeological mille-fille of the long industrial history of this region—but also creates a sense of reverence for this history, conveying the fragilely of the each individual item, engineered together to inspire and cultivate respect for the legacy on the whole.