Weaving new life into an old tradition | Otsuka Gofukuten by Yusuke Seki
photos by takumi ota | click to enlarge
In a 70-year old building that stands in the heart of Kyoto, Japan’s ancient capital, there is new life being weaved into a centuries-old tradition. Late last year on a chilly November evening Otsuka Gofukuten, a retailer of Japanese traditional kimonos, opened to much acclaim and excitement.
Within the beautiful walls of what used to be a tofu shop, guests stood around munching on sushi that had been stylized like kimonos by the chefs of A WOMB. There was an enthusiasm in the air that would, perhaps, have been unexpected at a traditional kimono shop opening. However, their kimonos are the only thing traditional about the new shop. It’s their method of dealing that sets Otsuka Gofukuten aside from the pack.
Kimonos have conventionally been reserved for the wealthy, upper class. And therefore, pricing schemes have always been somewhat opaque – concealed for those who considered their pedestals to be too high for petty numbers. Otsuka Gofukuten set out to change and streamline a convoluted system which, they felt, was flawed. In their new system, all products are compartmentalized and clearly labeled according to a 3-step pricing system (10,000 yen, 30,000 yen and 50,000 yen). The interior design, which came together under the supervision of Yusuke Seki, helps showcase the 3 price ranges with original shelving.
But it wasn’t just about moving into the future. Seki decided to preserve and use the original tiles from the tofu shop. “I wanted to explore diachronic aspects such as materials, stories, location, architecture and function to translate and add value through design,” says Seki. “All the aspects have a story and contribute to the overall store details. They take on a new life, having been a relic of the past – mirroring the theme of this new approach to Kimono design and wear.”
source: press release
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