A Tokyo warehouse has been transformed into a sprawling lifestyle store and café by Kengo Kuma and Associates. Now called La Kagu, the industrial warehouse is met with a massive timber and steel staircase that is peppered with growing trees, which connects visitors to varying levels of the building. The new store creates a modern vision for the disused warehouse, offering guests an open shopping plan with plenty of natural light.
The former 1960s book storage warehouse has now been transformed into a 960 square meter retail space, with a fashion boutique, a homeware department, bookstore and café. With such a massive space, Kengo Kuma sought a way to create a modern retail atmosphere, while also preserving some of the original architectural character. The architects decided to open up the original walls, creating oversized glazed glass windows throughout the building as a way to modernize the structure, without changing its envelope.
The ground floor is a massive glass box, with floor to ceiling glass walls around the perimeter. Inside features women’s clothing, and a café that overlooks the timber staircase and implanted trees. The second floor houses menswear and house wares, as well as a flexible-use space that can be used for events and lectures.
Outside, the staircase can also be used for outdoor events, doubling as an amphitheater or concert venue. The steps have also been used for the site of a farmer’s market, offering shoppers fresh produce along with high end fashions. The timber stairs contrast and compliment the original steel skeleton of the warehouse, fusing old and new harmoniously.