So Minimalist Its Almost Not Even There!

April 8, 2012

We have blogged quite a few pieces now on the effects of white space and why we shouldn’t fear it but in terms of minimalist design and white space I doubt there is a functional retail project in the world that can rival today’s feature project. Designed by Japanese Designer Noriyuki OtsukaLe Ciel Bleu is certainly a project that got tongues wagging when it first opened in early 2012. The minimalist space really deserves the title of minimal and bizarrely this is a minimalist project that I can’t help but adore, perhaps because of the eloquent description of the project from Noriyuki Otsuka:

A white space in brilliant colors

This shop was designed for a retail complex called LUCUA, which was built as part of the redevelopment of the Umeda area in Osaka. It is a luxurious architectural space of about 250m2 with a ceiling 5m high. When approaching the design I simultaneously embraced the two opposing notions of the overall concept as well as the detailed design of the space. I was conscious that if I based my design on the functional requirements of the space such as the number of products that could be housed, I would end up with an interior resembling a fashion retail megastore. The design that I proposed was an interior space which incorporated another architectural space within it. This interior space was a cylinder made with a structurally self-supporting mesh. Because of the size of the feature I wanted to avoid integrating it too much with the surrounding space, so deliberately aligned it off center from the axis of the building. This layout gives the space a sense of gravity. I also included custom-made hanging light fittings in my plan for the cylinder in order to make the interior space the central focus of the design.

The composer Toru Takemitsu expressed music with colors. In the same way, I wanted to express a white space using brilliant colors. That is to say, I wanted to use the density of the design to fill the space in the same way as music notes fill a space. This density is not expressed through an elaborate or gimmicky design; rather it is expressed as a fine balance of musical notes. This sense of balance diffuses throughout the space in the same way that a drop of watercolor paint causes the surface of water in a jar to ripple outwards. The white space is infused with color but maintains a sense of balance, and the specially-made gold metallic flooring highlights the form of every object in the space. It is in this that the originality and elegance of the shop is expressed

This project description has done my job for me (I am a bit lazy today, it is Easter Sunday after all) but the points made do sum up this idea behind this project beautifully and I absolutely get it, this design will also allow the apparel that is displayed to take pride of place and in retail the product is king and what better thrown for merchandising than a space devoted to showcasing just the product?  Check out the images below and you will be forgiven for thinking the store is unfinished, because most of us thought the same when we first saw the project.

Images Credited to Hiroyuki Hirai