Naoto Fukasawa inserts Issey Miyake store in Kyoto machiya townhouse
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Issey Miyake Kyoto store

Naoto Fukasawa inserts Issey Miyake store into 132-year-old Kyoto townhouse

Japanese designer Naoto Fukasawa has created a new boutique for fashion house Issey Miyake inside one of Kyoto's historic machiya houses.

Fukasawa, who is best known for designing many of Muji's bestselling products, was tasked with transforming the interior of the ageing property, which has been standing for 132 years.

Issey Miyake Kyoto store

Machiya are a type of townhouse that were once common in Kyoto but are now becoming scarce, as owners often shy away from conducting expensive repairs, and instead choose to build contemporary replacements.

Fukasawa sought to create a "tranquil and elegant atmosphere" in his renovation of the property.

His design leaves the exterior intact, but opens up the interior, creating plenty of space for displaying Issey Miyake's clothing collections.

Issey Miyake Kyoto store

Traditionally, machiyas would contain a shop and a home upstairs. There would usually also be a storeroom, known as a kura, located behind.

At Issey Miyake Kyoto, the kura has been converted into a small gallery space, where the brand plans to showcase its "spirit of making things" alongside references to regional culture and history.

Issey Miyake Kyoto store

For the two-storey interior of the store, Fukasawa created an open-plan space by stripping out all of the interior walls. As a result, the building's traditional wooden structure is now exposed.

These are complemented by glass cases with matching dark frames, which are used for presenting a collection of accessories.

Issey Miyake Kyoto store

Side walls have been replastered and left unpainted, offering a clean backdrop to the brand's displays of clothing and bags.

According to Issey Miyake, the colour scheme was based on a shade of Japan's historic sumi paint.

Issey Miyake Kyoto store

"A new space is born, where Kyoto's historic machiya and Issey Miyake's spirit of making things are beautifully coordinated," said Fukasawa.

"The charcoal grey plaster creates a tranquil and elegant atmosphere, where the beauty of tradition and innovation meet and become one."

Issey Miyake Kyoto store

In the kura, walls are painted white to create a more traditional gallery aesthetic. For the store's opening, which took place this week, it is hosting an exhibition of the brand's collaborations with influential Japanese graphic designer Ikko Tanaka.

Fukasawa, who ranked at 295 on Dezeen Hot List 2017, has previously designed other stores for Issey Miyake, including one that opened in Tokyo in 2016.

The brand often chooses to work with Japanese designers, even when working abroad. Other collaborators include Tokujin YoshiokaYoichi Yamamoto and Nendo.

Photography is by Masaya Yoshimura.