Designed to evoke the heat and scent of the freshly baked cheese tarts that it sells, this store in Japan, which just won Retail Interior of the Year at Dezeen Awards, is made from warm-toned galvanised metal.
Surrounded by a wrap-around glass facade, the cheese tarts are made on site in a galvanised metal kitchen with the baking process in full view.
"We felt that rather than shouting in the hustle-bustle to gain the attention of customers, the shop would actually stand out if it remained in tranquility like a temple, attracting attention to the products," explained Suzuki.
"A glass wall was installed to divide the shop from the surrounding environment, and a symbolic ringed hole was provided in only the area where customers are served. "
According to designer Fumitaka Suzuki, the area of the city in which the department store is located is particularly well known for both its metal factories and historic temples.
"It's an area where architectural hardware is galvanised next to a galvanised Buddha statue," said the designer.
"This region inherits its exceptional galvanisation technique from craftsmen who supported the rise of Japan's postwar economy in the downtown factories," said Suzuki. "On the other hand, historic temples also remain, enshrining Buddha statues glowing with galvanised surfaces, creating contrasting sceneries in the area."
"The galvanised shop will call up scenes in the minds of the locals from this area. I must admit my imprudence that the source of inspiration for this project was the fact that a galvanised Buddha statue looked 'delicious' in my eyes," added Suzuki.
Inspired by this local history, Suzuki used galvanised metal panels to build the cheese tart store interior with the hope of "triggering interest in the region as well as the product".
The industrial surfaces in golden tones were selected for their warm glow as well as the way their hard surfaces contrast with the texture of the soft cheese tarts.
"We felt that the galvanised yellow, gold and rainbow burnish resemble the heat, colours and scent of freshly baked cheese tarts, and may create an interesting contrast of the sizzling sensation between the sweet and soft cheese tart and hard and industrial galvanised surfaces," said the designer.
Each fixture is dedicated to one stage of the production process. The designer carried out detailed studies of the items and processes required for the storage, baking, display and cooling of the tarts. The service counter, display counter and oven are all made from galvanised metal pillars.
"This was carried out carefully to showcase the entire production process to the customers in the hope that people will notice the beauty in each motion of the making, within a functional space ," said Suzuki.
"By creating contrasting sceneries between a department store and a workshop, a lively market and a quiet temple, and cheese tarts and industrial products, we aimed to derive a pleasant mismatch.
Other projects shortlisted for the Retail Interior of the Year award include the Snøhetta-designed Aesop store in west London, which channels Oscar Niemeyer, and the V&A museum's shop in London by Friend and Company Architects.
Photography is by Kiyoshi Nishioka.