By Pari Syal
courtesy the architect
A new dessert
store in Japan is an eclectic exercise in traditional Jiigoku-Gumi or Japanese wood
instantaneously on the senses, Ar. Kengo Kuma & Associates have taken 24
long months to conceptualize and actualize this structure built completely on a
joint system called “Jiigoku-Gumi,” traditional method used in Japanese wooden
architecture (often observed in Shoji: vertical and cross pieces of the same
width are entwined in each other to form a mounting grid).
selling the popular Taiwanese pineapple cake, the store at a vantage corner in
upmarket Miniami-Aoyama, Tokyo, amidst designer boutiques, and is shaped like a
huge bamboo basket.
joint system, where normally two wooden pieces intersect in two dimensions; but
here, they are combined at 30 degrees in cubic measures, which has resulted in
a much larger structure akin to a wayward cloud, with the size of each wooden
piece reduced to as thin as 60 x 60mm.
solid concrete foundation, the primary structure is made from reinforced
concrete and partially from timber. The basement plus 3 structure uses a
combination of steel, Aluminium and wood in its material palette and is finished
with sprayed lathing and galvanized steel plate fluororesin paint on the
outside. Interior spaces are finished with cork tile and natural stone flooring
and stone and handmade washi paper
wall finishes; while the ceiling is made of structural plywood.
wooden lattice vocabulary appears a trifle busy on the outside, it results in a
charming interior fit-out that has natural light filtering in through the grid,
creating intriguing chiaroscuro elements. The interior is spacious and non-conformist:
with large and small treads making a statement of the entrance stairway;
odd-shaped tables and a distinctively unique ambience within.
its strong aesthetic, the Sunny Hills’ dessert shop is the cynosure of all
eyes, vying for attention with the Prada store and Nezu museum nearby.