takuyahosokai, the studio led by japanese architect takuya hosokai, has completed a hair salon in a quiet residential neighborhood of niigata. named ‘figure – ground’, the project took just eight months from design to completion. ‘when we visited the site for the first time, we felt that there are many buildings in this area that are composed of multiple small volumes in an inconsistent physical scale, such as an entrance, a bay window, a terrace, a warehouse, and a garage,’ explains takuya hosokai. ‘in addition, although the buildings are reasonably tall, the streetscape has an intimate sense of scale because its composition allows the line of sight to pass through to the open sky.’

takuyahosokai figure - ground hair salon
all images by naomichi sode

 

 

takuya hosokai took time to consider the appropriate form of the new building. ‘proposing a simple shape for the building on this site, such as a cube, would have emphasized its formal symbolism and made the building feel awkward in relation to the city,’ he explains. ‘therefore, we devised the beauty salon in the form of multiple volumes that have the same physical and intimate scale as the surrounding environment.’

takuyahosokai figure - ground hair salon

 

 

as the structure contains a hair salon, the architects wanted to create a space surrounded by soft and homogeneous indirect light. in order to illuminate the rear of the building on the long and narrow site, its shape gradually expands from front to back, both in plan and elevation. the interior had to accommodate three different programs — waiting, hair cutting, and hair washing.

takuyahosokai figure - ground hair salon

 

 

‘because the quality of light required for each of these three activities is different, we decided to divide the space into three separate zones even though they are one sequence,’ takuya hosokai continues. ‘therefore, we created three volumes: a waiting room, a cutting area, and a shampoo area; two more volumes were added to the program: a staff room and a gallery. the interdigitation of these five volumes creates a sequence of spaces, even though each space is divided from the next.’

takuyahosokai figure - ground hair salon

 

 

although privacy was fundamental, the architects also sought to provide a connection with the outdoors by manipulating the form of the building. ‘in this study, we formed the interior space by arranging five rectangles on the site, and at the same time, we tried to obtain a plane as gardens and a patio,’ the architect explains. ‘there is no hierarchy, and both are treated equally. the scale and form of both the architecture as ‘figure’ and the site as ‘ground’ are considered to be similar. as a result, when people walk through the interior space the ‘figure and the ground’ are reversed creating the illusion that the interior and the exterior are interchangeable.’

takuyahosokai figure - ground hair salon

takuyahosokai figure - ground hair salon

takuyahosokai-designed hair salon in niigata comprises five sequential volumes

takuyahosokai-designed hair salon in niigata comprises five sequential volumes

takuyahosokai-designed hair salon in niigata comprises five sequential volumes

 

 

 

 

project info:

 

name: figure – ground
location: niigata, japan
architects: takuyahosokai
structure: tetsuya tanaka structural engineers
constructor: inoue architectural design inc.
project year: 2020
site area: 173.25 sqm
building area: 68.06 sqm
total floor area: 84.33 sqm
photography: naomichi sode