Yusuke Seki designs Japanese knife shop interior

Yusuke Seki combines "danger and precision" for Japanese knife shop interior

Handmade knifes are displayed on a custom-built wooden shelving system inside this shop for Japanese brand Tadafusa, designed by Tokyo designer Yusuke Seki.

Japanese traditional Blacksmithing knife factory showroom by Yusuke Seki Design Studio

The shop for Tadafusa – a renowned manufacturer of hand-forged knives – is located in Sanjo, a city in Japan's Niigata Prefecture with blacksmithing origins.

Japanese traditional Blacksmithing knife factory showroom by Yusuke Seki Design Studio

As the store is situated adjacent the company's factory, Seki chose to use a portion of the existing building's exterior as an interior wall.

Japanese traditional Blacksmithing knife factory showroom by Yusuke Seki Design Studio

The knives were a major reference point for the store's interior, but Seki was also influenced by other products on sale.

Displays and a central table were constructed from carbonised spruce, the same material used to create cutting boards, as well as knife handles.

Japanese traditional Blacksmithing knife factory showroom by Yusuke Seki Design Studio

"The notion of a cutting board shop is also a thread woven deeply into the store concept," he said. "While the Tsubame-Sanjo area is famous for being a blacksmithing town, knives do not consist solely of blades."

Japanese traditional Blacksmithing knife factory showroom by Yusuke Seki Design Studio

The store is accessed via the factory down two flights of concrete stairs. Knives are displayed at the bottom of the stairs in a grid-like formation, upon a latticed wooden backdrop with interlocking shelves.

Japanese traditional Blacksmithing knife factory showroom by Yusuke Seki Design Studio

Aiming to re-envision the typical locked knife case, the designer concealed the products behind a set of glass doors that are intended to be opened by visitors.

Japanese traditional Blacksmithing knife factory showroom by Yusuke Seki Design Studio

"The security zone most often represented by the locked glass case has been rebranded as a zone of reverence," said Seki.

"A raised threshold forces visitors into a heightened state of awareness as they enter the area, mimicking those found in shrines and temples."

Japanese traditional Blacksmithing knife factory showroom by Yusuke Seki Design Studio

"Tadafusa's shop seamlessly blends notions of danger and precision together with natural elements, elevating the knife of daily use into an elegant showcase for the industry's resurgence," he added.

Japanese traditional Blacksmithing knife factory showroom by Yusuke Seki Design Studio

Seki has designed a number of shop and exhibition spaces that promote traditional Japanese crafts, including a kimono shop in Kyoto and an installation using hemp fabrics for a Tokyo textile brand.

Japanese traditional Blacksmithing knife factory showroom by Yusuke Seki Design Studio

Most recently project, he used 25,000 pieces of crockery to raise the floor of a ceramics shop in Hasami, a town in Japan's Nagasaki prefecture that has produced pottery for around 400 years.

Photography is by Takumi Ota.