Tsutaya Books commissioned us to design the company’s twentieth store since its restructuring, located in the city of Ebetsu, Hokkaido. The site is adjacent to Ebetsu’s Four Seasons Promenade, a landscaped walking path, and faces a wooded area with many large trees. With a store concept of “a slow-life library in the woods,” our focus was on creating a comfortable space for customers to enjoy.
In order to reduce the volume of the 140-meter-long structure, we divided it into three blocks and five zones with a staggered layout. The blocks form a cohesive cluster of buildings whose trimmed-back scale is effective in attracting more people. The exterior is finished with bricks from three local companies, creating a strong contrast with the surrounding greenery. We expect the bricks to age beautifully, along with the extruded cement panels on the sides of the buildings.
The three blocks are assigned the respective themes of Mind, Life, and Food, and their interiors are configured to offer framed views of the forest as well as a sense of unity. The locally produced bricks, concrete floors, exposed steel frames, and wood-and-steel furniture all contribute to the tranquil atmosphere inside, as does the lighting design.
The store hosts nearly 50 events every month and over 500 throughout the year, playing a role in the community that goes far beyond that of a typical public building. It is not only a commercial facility selling books, DVDs, and more, but also a place that strives to create and nurture local culture. This resonates with the commitment of the company’s founder to create places where people gather—and with our concept of a “slow life” bookstore in Hokkaido.