ASKWATCH Store / Kenta Nagai Studio
Text description provided by the architects. Interior design for a specialist store that collects rare and luxury watches from all over the world. The site is a former tenant building in Shinjuku, Tokyo, where various shops are crowded, and consists of 2 floors: 1st floor: sales floor, 2nd floor: shopping counter. In a compact store with a narrow facade and a deep entrance from the street, a place was needed to meet rare products. A functionless black steel finished space has been set up at the entrance to the store. This is meant to raise expectations for the interior space and is inspired by the approach that can be found in the traditional Japanese shrine.
Instead of covering the existing decrepit concrete skeleton inside the store, the old concrete was given new value by applying KINTSUGI – traditional Japanese repair techniques with powdered gold usually found on the pottery – to some of the defective pieces. The floor, trading booth and showcase have been laid out in the space using materials that clash with the existing concrete.
By laying gravel between these spaces, we express a sense of calm and beauty reminiscent of a Japanese garden. The floor was finished with old wood and floated in space like a stage to encounter rare goods. The stainless steel display case feels like an otherworldly bank safe and the rarity of the product further stands out. The watch display stand uses the natural stone as it is, and by contrasting it with the natural beauty of the stone, it enhances the attractiveness of the man-made beauty of the wristwatch, which can be seen as the crystallization of a knowledge -do advanced.
You can bring your favorite products to the trading booth and examine them carefully. The cabin is a neutral space finished with white steel and plastic and the surface emission from the ceiling allows you to focus on the details of the product. The strong contrast of various materials makes each space stand out independently. And through these “spatial” experiences, you can feel the connection to the concept of “time”.