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Issey Miyake Kyoto, Naoto Fukasawa

Machiya in Modern: Issey Miyake Kyoto by Naoto Fukasawa

Machiya are traditional wooden townhouses found everywhere in Japan; in particular, they characterize the city of Kyoto. The machiya in Kyoto, known as kyomachiya, represent the standardized form of this type of house. Typical features are their direct connection to the street, their narrow front side and their striking depth. The area facing the street is the public area of the house, while the upper storeys accommodate several living spaces known as kyoshitsubu. Japanese industrial designer Naoto Fukasawa has transformed a 132-year-old machiya into a modern store for the Issey Miyake fashion label.

Fukasawa’s design arose in a historical context: the colour scheme of the store is based on sumi, an ink often used in Far Eastern calligraphy and painting. The façade remains unchanged; the two-storey interior has been completely transformed. The floor, once covered with tatami mats, has been replaced with wood. Dividing walls have been removed in order to create a continuous structure that accentuates the dark wooden framework. The dark-grey side walls have been replastered in order to let the colourful collection glow against the background of the dark wood. The storehouse or kura located behind the machiya is now used as a gallery. It has been kept all in white and will display Issey Miyake’s design process, which refers to regional history and the culture of Kyoto.

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