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Bare Essentials

David Brent wouldn't know where to put himself at stark Tokyo office conversion...

Bare Essentials
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What looks like a barely-touched former factory space, is in fact an old office – its carpet tiles ripped up, the exposed mortar undercoat polished to within an inch of its life; its dreary magnolia walls and the insulation behind them torn back to create the designer’s concept of ‘incompleteness’...

Like many bohemian city neighbourhoods, Tokyo’s Nakameguro began life when creative types moved into cheap apartments and art studios – the inevitable influx of hip bars, eateries and design-led shops followed – whereas most of these low-rent spaces are such due to changes in industry, the Megurogawa waterway running through Nakameguro had long been polluted by factory waste, and the area was swamped by countless mosquitoes. Add to this tales of people drowning themselves in the river during World War II air raids, and the Nakameguro of old certainly sounds a far cry from the counterculture cool that dominates today. Cleaned up during the 1990s, Nakameguro is now one of Tokyo’s most desirable districts for the discerning punter, with brands continuing to deliver their stylish wares to its thronging streets.

The latest such brand, is EEL who, with the help of Jo Nagasaka’s brilliant Schemata Architects, have somewhat reversed the process of gentrification in their breathtaking new space. What looks like a barely-touched former factory space, is in fact an old office – its carpet tiles ripped up, the exposed mortar undercoat polished to within an inch of its life; its dreary magnolia walls and the insulation behind them torn back to create the designer’s concept of ‘incompleteness’. Sounds contrived? Probably because it is, but let us not let concerns of authenticity throw us off the scent here – EEL’s Nakameguro outlet remains a thing of true industrial beauty, however the results were achieved. Here’s hoping somebody left the photocopier behind for Christmas parties.

EEL Nakameguro
EEL Nakameguro
EEL Nakameguro
EEL Nakameguro
EEL Nakameguro
EEL Nakameguro
EEL Nakameguro
EEL Nakameguro
EEL Nakameguro
EEL Nakameguro
EEL Nakameguro

All images © Takumi Ota Photography

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