Since its opening on June 20th, Graphpaper KYOTO has been much talked about. Kyoto is booming with new openings, such as Kyoto City KYOCERA Museum of Art and Ace Hotel, but this one is the place I would like to visit now among others.
Combining contemporary modernity and fashion which fits the city, the store design gets the most out of the sense of Takayuki Minami, a creative director who expresses Kyoto’s traditional culture through his own perspective. Contributing as Silver’s editorial supervisor for a regular feature ART&CRAFTS, Minami has a strong relationship with Japanese artists, which seems to strengthen the sense of Japanese aesthetics for the Kyoto store.
Most notable is the gap between its modern exterior and its traditional interior, including a Japanese-style room, a garden and a warehouse. Entering the building, you will see a tea room on your left. When walking further into the building, there is a garden and a warehouse at the back, the latter acting as a gallery space.
Minami says, “This warehouse is over hundred years old. We refurbished and transformed it into a gallery. Apart from Japanese artist that Graphpaper deal with, we have a collection of artists who were inspired by Japan, such as Isamu Noguchi and Charlotte Perriand.
The store as a whole uses the traditional Japanese architectural style, remaining faithful to the original Machiya style. A narrow entrance and a long structure leading from an earthen floor to a garden and a warehouse is a distinctive style seen in Kyomachiya. It took us four years to find a location where we could create such a space. However, when we were finally ready to open the shop, the pandemic hit the world… We are emotionally involved in this place in many ways.
I especially like the Japanese-style room. I considered it as a space serving our customers or for making payments. Visiting a shop, taking off your shoes to enter a room, and enjoying a conversation with shop staff over a cup of tea. This is very unusual as a fashion store, but I believe that almost the only reason for coming to a physical shop is for the experience and communication. Even when a customer takes the trouble to visit our Kyoto store, if the store was a stereotype, which you could find everywhere, there would be nothing that they could get a thrill from. The stone used as a step up into the Japanese-style room originally belonged to this place and we continue to use it. Coming in with your shoes on, taking them off to go one stair up, and sitting down to have a conversation over tea; I would like this place to offer the Japanese aesthetics of hospitality”.
On the day of our interview, it was raining in Kyoto. Rain drops were falling on the trees and the stones in the garden, creating a space where you could feel the Japanese atmosphere. After Covid-19 spread over the world, our lives became increasingly digitalised and society has been filled with convenient tech gadgets. However, our emotions will no longer be moved only by functionality. The falling rain is beautiful. That is something that is impossible to convert to a numerical value, yet somehow touches our feeling deeply. This place reminded me that such a space, such a sense of aesthetics is necessary to our lives.
|Photo Kaoru Yamada||Edit & Text Takuya Chiba||Translation Fumie Tsuji|