Teaming up with Australian skincare company Aesop for the third time, Torafu Architects has created a fit-out for their Kawaramachi store, which is located in Kyoto, Japan.

Situated in a two-storey building on a busy shopping street, the project, which is called ‘Aesop Kawaramachi’, took four months – involving both an interior and exterior overhaul – and seamlessly blends the bustling streetscape with the casual and cosy in-store environment.

“We approached the project by making the most out of the original building structure with the addition of careful alteration,” says Torafu. “We brought the functional part of the store compactly to the narrow space by the entrance.”

Working with a narrow 3.2 metre storefront, the designers sought to maximise space, carefully transforming the existing structure, creating an alluring entrance for clients, which leads them into the hospitality area.

The 6.2 metre high vaulted ceiling allowed for greater design freedom. “By utilising the height of the vaulted ceiling, we hung squid fishing boat pendant lights like on a mobile and filled the big space with light.” On the second floor is a gallery space, which allows customers to interact.

A sense of calmness is created in the use of colours, particularly the pale green fittings and fixtures. Ōya stone is used for the flooring and provides a soft, natural palette that lends to the feeling of calmness. The product shelves are made of flexible board and is unburnable and has the texture of mortar.

The façade is covered with flexible board, using interior elements, such as accent green color and squid fishing boat lamp, to create a continuity in space, while also making the store stand out in the colourful shopping street and catching the eye of passers-by.

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