The Japanese design company Sfera started in Kyoto where we designed their ”Sfera Building” in 2003. Their second place to open was the Sfera Shop in Tokyo, which we designed in 2007. For their first location outside Japan, Milan Italy was chosen and their showroom in Via Varese which we designed in 2010
In each of these locations we were asked to include the Japanese heritage and contemporary design with our own Scandinavian background and the spirit of the location.
In Via Varese there was present a special original character from the late modernist building which we wanted to keep. One was the tall ceiling height in the front room and another was the tile floors. The terracotta tiles in the showroom and gallery and the grey melange mosaic in the office were colour matched and the walls were painted in correspondence. This created a kind of monochrome perimeter against which all new additions would contrast.
Curtains hung around the walls created a textile quality to the spaces. A kind of immateriality which is both poetic and relieving in an otherwise hard city environment. Almost like the nomad’s tent. But the real inspiration was taken from the textiles hung in front of traditional Japanese shops or restaurants that you have to bow under when entering.
In both the showroom and the gallery respectively two architecturally precise elements were placed. Like perfect white cubes, almost over-sized to enhance the spatial proportions of the space. The ”cubes” makes for two mezzanines. On top in the showroom cube is a musician’s studio. On top in the gallery cube is a tea ceremony room.