Snapshot: Tokyo-based Architecture firm Torafu Architects crafted the new home for fashion brand Minä Perhonen Koti in Japan’s Shonan T-Site Complex, a counterpoint of design and urban life in which the company serves up a playful and surprising collection of textiles and wares.
Just south of Tokyo, the T-Site Complex is a tribute to the analog experience of shopping, set according to the Japan Times, “within Fujisawa Sustainable Smart Town, a high-profile new community project created by Panasonic as a template for future urban living.” Young couples and families are moving to the area for the experience of a “curated lifestyle,” shopping amidst ivy-covered, modernist pavilions.
Minä Perhonen is the well-crafted response to this movement towards a crafted urban lifestyle. The space is open, brightly lit by a stretching panel of windows, yet retains the quirky charm of a small town bookstore. Minä Perhonen Koti - the “koti” meaning home in Finnish - showcases the items of everyday life with compelling details, colors, and textures. The objects are not meant to fit in so much as to surprise and thrill by their playfulness, their idiosyncrasies. A button-eyed ragdoll peers out of the woodwork, a smiling monkey hangs from a moveable copper bar, while patchwork pillows in bunnies, bulls, and hens line the shelving of the wall. No surprise from a fashion brand that reflects the the ephemeral but timeless beauty of nature. As their website describes, "‘minä’ means ‘I’ and ‘perhonen’ is ‘butterfly,’ with a wish to make many beautiful designs like those of butterflies' wings.”
As backdrop to this jungle of objects, Torafu Architects crafts a simple layout. White walls reflect the outside light, while Minä Perhonen’s textiles quilt the floor with myriad textured squares. This harlequin landscape is sewn in with their custom buttons and coated with epoxy resin. The center island is a structure of cabinetry with doors that open and close according to the display, and brass legs designed so as to “appear to hover above the ground.” Objects populate the store like fauna, open to the whim of customers who only need explore to find something unexpected and new.
Photography: Takumi Ota