Interview with Tetsuya Matsumoto at Wednesday 20th of April 2016: DI: What is the main principle, idea and inspiration behind your design?
TM : The idea behind this design came as an answer to the two client’s requests which are to display more than 3000 leather items in the showroom and to give the visitor the impression of the variety of products when visiting. The design uses 83 small cuboid units of 1.5x1.5x2 m3 similar to the ones used in the factory next door, as the client visits the factory as well. There are four types of units, each with a specific function, to better display the different kinds of products. These units are combined to each other randomly like a jungle gym and offer the visitor an experience similar to exploring a maze while browsing the exhibited items.
The outside of the building is thought as a box containing the jungle gym, like an ark, expressing the wish of the customer that leather that was probably the first material man wore, will be saved and transmitted to the future generations. We were inspired by Japanese traditional art of paper folding “Origami” to make this ark; the shape was also influenced by the high speed “Shinkansen” train tracks, which are separated from the site by a narrow road of 4 meters. This resulted in a horizontal sharp angled shape which gives the shinkansen passengers a thrilling experience of an arrow, or a spaceship passing by in front of them.
DI: What has been your main focus in designing this work? Especially what did you want to achieve?
TM : The main focus was to find a way of exhibiting 3000 leather items and still giving the client the feeling and the chance to understand the variety of the products. It was important that all the products would be visible at a single glance. But 3000 items needs usually 3 levels in such a narrow building area, which would not achieve the wanted effect.
DI: How long did it take you to design this particular concept?
TM : The design of the building, from beginning to the delivery of the detailed construction drawing took 6 months.
DI: Why did you design this particular concept? Was this design commissioned or did you decide to pursuit an inspiration?
TM : This design was commissioned by the owner of Sansho Leather Company, who asked us to design a showroom with particular requests.
DI: Is your design being produced or used by another company, or do you plan to sell or lease the production rights or do you intent to produce your work yourself?
TM : This architectural design has been built for the Sansho Leather Company’s use.
DI: What made you design this particular type of work?
TM : We are specialized in commercial architectural/interior design.
DI: Who is the target customer for his design?
TM : This showroom will be used to display the leather products of Sansho Leather Company.
DI: What sets this design apart from other similar or resembling concepts?
TM : The concept of displaying products in a three dimensional maze makes the showroom look no more like a boring, business oriented, product displaying and brings more dynamics and fun to the process.
DI: How did you come up with the name for this design? What does it mean?
TM : Origami Ark is a name that we thought fits the way this building is. First, ark is born from the client’s hope that this building will, like Noah’s Ark, will save the Leather industry. The leather probably the first material to be wore by man, is most likely to be widely still used in the future. Also the maze inside this building makes it look like one big object that the ark is transporting.
Origami came from the Japanese traditional art of folding paper, the shape of the building looks like an origami: an origami ark.
DI: Which design tools did you use when you were working on this project?
TM : We usually use sketches followed with 3D modeling and CAD drawings, the processes is not perfectly linear, but more likely parallel.
DI: What is the most unique aspect of your design?
TM : The way of displaying products.
The exterior sharp angled shape.
DI: What are some of the challenges you faced during the design/realization of your concept?
TM : The challenge was purely spatial; the space of display is narrow and can’t fit the client’s demand in a traditional way, so we had to think about an original way of displaying.
DI: How did you decide to submit your design to an international design competition?
TM : We already have won several international awards; including the previous edition of A Design Awards.