all photos by Kenta Hasegawa
Established in 1957 in Nagasaki prefecture, Maruhiro is a family-owned hasamiyaki ceramics business that originally began as a street vendor. They have a unique business model in that they don’t have their own factories. Instead, they handle the design and planning, and then work with local artisans to produce the actual ceramics. While emphasizing traditional methods and techniques, the company incorporates contemporary colors and forms into their line-up. But it’s not only their product portfolio that is forward thinking. In establishing their latest retail outlet, they wanted to create a space not only for fans of yakimono but also for local residents and children who could gather and just hang out. Hiroppa, which is a combination of the Japanese words hiroba (open space) and harappa (open field), officially opened late last year.
The new 4000 sq m facility, located in the Hasami district of Nagasaki, hosts a sprawling park, cafe and shop, all designed by architect Daisuke Motogi of DDAA. Open and inviting, the store is bright and airy, connecting the indoors and outdoors through a pergola, which is much like a gazebo except it allows for sunlight to shine through its slatted roof.
And a lot of love and care went into designing the park too, which is much more open-ended and free compared to traditional parks nowadays which come with pre-defined rules and instructions on how to have fun. In fact, this idea of open-ended design is a constant theme that extends throughout the space. “I am interested in the idea of not completing,” says the architect. “I am attracted to the generous quality, not only in architecture but also in products and landscapes, where the completion is not the culmination, but there remains the possibility of renewal and involvement in the future.”
DDAA also designed Maruhiro’s neighboring corporate offices by renovating an 86-year old townhouse.