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I experience something like chagrin as I look at this beauty parlour called Fujisubo (Barnacle) in the Omotesando district of Tokyo, Japan. It’s not because of any fault in this piece of experimental architecture by Yoshihiro Hirotani and Yusaku Ishida- who make up the firm Archivision. Instead it is because all I can think about is how someone’s going to steel that copper cladding. What a world I live in. I say ‘I’ because I don’t know what sort of world you live in, but I’m fairly up-to-date on mine, and in mine, copper gets stolen. But perhaps Japan is different. Anyways.

Courtesy of Yoshihiro Hirotani and Yusaku Ishida (Archivision)

The architects chose to create a volume for natural light in an area so abundant with artificial light. Three ‘light funnels’ make up the roof, channeling light into the interior upper floor, which then filters through to below by way of slit-windows set into the floor. The interior is really something. Very clean lines, sharply executed details, the light from above- which exists for the most part as sourceless due to the depth of the stacks- plays off the smooth white concrete walls with a sense of… theatre almost.

Courtesy of Yoshihiro Hirotani and Yusaku Ishida (Archivision)

The stacks themselves are really what make this building, though. They are an element which, when properly applied, never fail to add something wonderful to a scheme. They create a sort of artificial, yet primal, cave sensation for those standing below; as if looking up at daylight streaming down through a fissure in the rock. There is one draw back however. Here, being the only roof features, the first thing I thought this was, was a crematorium.

Courtesy of Yoshihiro Hirotani and Yusaku Ishida (Archivision)

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