In order to make a new retail outlet for the Japanese fashion brand EEL look like an abandoned warehouse, Jo Nagasaka and Tomoki Katada of Schemata Architects stripped an office space down to the bare concrete walls.
This minimalism and subtraction of features is a departure from the traditional retail design process of building out and adding elements. This sense of ‘incompleteness’ was key to their design, with the space only becoming complete once the most important element (the clothes) were added.
The construction process was mostly subtraction, with the architects dismantling, peeling, and scraping unnecessary layers. They peeled off the existing carpet and sanded the exposed mortar undercoat, removed all of the paint, baseboard and insulation from the walls and ceiling.
The boutique’s display fixtures were also left in a state of ‘incompleteness’, with the stainless steel mirror’s weld joint left unpolished, hanging racks made of anti-corrosive coated steel pipes, and wooden boxes and surfaces left unpainted. These unfinished elements reinforce the design concept. Click through to see pictures of the EEL Nakameguro store: