Flagship showroom Milan
Dear Mr Ito, thank you for giving us the opportunity to talk about your design of the new Kinnasand showroom in Milan. First of all, we would like to know what Kinnasand means to you in terms of values and products?
Kinnasand is a very traditional brand. The power of tradition can become some kind of a constraint. However, the products by Kinnasand are full of vitality and are combinations of various technologies. When such a brand tries something new, we architects expect a promising sense for beauty of the brand from its tradition. As textiles are hands-on materials, the aesthetics can be offered through products and the brand value. Such aesthetics enrich our life.
In which way does the showroom reflect the Kinnasand brand and its unique textiles?
As mentioned in your question, Kinnasand’s textiles are very unique and have many variations. The textiles are woven with delicate and rigor details that can only be achieved by the high-end brands. So we would like the architecture to be like pure air and light, in order to show the various colours, patterns, textures and weaving technologies of the textiles naturally, as they are. Some products’ sample textiles are simple, being expressed as light itself only by the permeability. Our approach was to construct the floors, walls and ceiling out of reflective and infiltrative materials, which are strictly selected, and offer a clean, soft and fluid space by shedding lights.
TEXTILES AND ARCHITECTURE
Sometimes interior textiles are described as a dynamic extension of architecture. What, in your eyes, is the role of textiles as an architectural element?
Textile is an element that embodies the origin of our aspiring architecture. In my lectures, I sometimes describe the scene of Japanese »Hanami« (cherry blossom viewing party) as the origin of my architecture, where people are enjoying their time surrounded by curtain. Textile is much lighter than architecture, can be handled easily and has no limits in size. This versatility and variety of design provides people with freedom of spending time there to gain peace, quiet, and joy. Furthermore, textile allows users freedom to express their own character more simply than with architecture.
» The products by Kinnasand are full of vitality and are combinations of various technologies. «
A PLACE OF ICHIGO-ICHIE
With the Kinnasand showroom you designed an architectural space purely dedicated to such interior textiles. Looking back over the process of designing it, what were your inspirations and thoughts?
It was the space in which textiles are suspended. Since we saw Kinnasand’s products for the first time, we would like the textiles and the visitors to be encountered purely face-on. Our issue was how to create a space of encounter in this limited 50m2 space. At first, we tried to use wind for moving textiles physically. However, it was rather calm. Then we gave thought to create a space where people do not feel the narrowness, by utilising lights and the nature of the materials, because we thought this approach would match the quality of Kinnasand better. As textiles need to be the leading player in this space, we tried various measures for the furniture in order to show these textiles most beautifully. We have a Japanese tea ceremony phase »Ichigo-Ichie«, which means »You must treasure every encounter and give hospitality, as it can be the last time in your life.«
We hope this space will be a place of »Ichigo-Ichie« for the textiles and the visitors.