Slate-clad chapel boasts a veil-inspired ceiling structure

Slate-clad chapel by Eriko Kasahara boasts a veil-inspired ceiling structure

Japanese designer Eriko Kasahara has completed a riverside wedding chapel featuring a multi-hued slate skin and a bright white interior that takes it cues from a bridal veil.

Chapel in Japan by Eriko Kasahara

The St Voile chapel forms part of a series of indoor and outdoor ceremony spaces offered by Humming Plaza VIP Niigata, a wedding venue complex on the south bank of the Shinano River in Niigata, Japan.

Chapel in Japan by Eriko Kasahara

Eriko Kasahara, who trained as an interior and furniture designer rather than as an architect, used the veil many brides wear across their faces during ceremonies as the starting point for her design – adding curved rods to recreate the appearance of draped fabric.

Chapel in Japan by Eriko Kasahara

"The new chapel is a clean space, where soft veils surround the holy ceremony," she explained.

"White is considered to be the colour that is religiously important from old days," she added. "The veil in particular has been conveyed as the thing which protected a bride from a wicked thing; the veil symbolised that past life is over and reborn to new life."

Chapel in Japan by Eriko Kasahara

The slender rods were arranged in groups and affixed to both sides of the chapel's sloping ceiling. Some sets are fixed together, while others overlap. The resulting lattice-like structure softens the sharp angles created by the steep pitch of the roof.

Chapel in Japan by Eriko Kasahara

"The veil pipes make an independent structural body, separate from the structure of the skeleton," said Kasahara. "When we have a look up at it, several pieces of cloth seem to dance flutteringly."

Chapel in Japan by Eriko Kasahara

Behind the alter, the chapel's end wall is punctured by a large arched window that mirrors the curved forms of the ceiling overhead. Offering views out towards the river, this glazing is decorated with six curving metal strips.

Chapel in Japan by Eriko Kasahara

The rest of the space was kept as simple as possible. Walls are painted white, while wooden pews with white cushions can be embellished with flowers.

Chapel in Japan by Eriko Kasahara

The walls and roof of the chapel were clad with slate panels, which offer a variety of tones that vary from orange to blue. There are no protruding eaves, so windows form the only interruptions to the homogenous tiled surface.

Chapel in Japan by Eriko Kasahara

According to Kasahara, this material was chosen to match one of the site's existing buildings. "It was important to keep balance with the existing main building," she said. "On that point, we designed the appearance of chapel with the presence as one volume."

Chapel in Japan by Eriko Kasahara

Photography is by Nacasa & Partners.

Chapel in Japan by Eriko Kasahara
Structural diagram – click for larger image
Chapel in Japan by Eriko Kasahara
Section – click for larger image