Unique Wooden Retail Store On A Japanese Island Is Clad In Zinc Panels

The Japanese architectural studio VUILD recently finished Shodoshima the Gate Lounge, which is intended to be a unique and innovative wooden retail store located on the Shodoshima Island in western Japan. The retail store is designed with the objective to challenge the conventional and typical designer-client relationship, and to create a retail experience that is unlike any other.

Designer: VUILD

The client for the project is involved in olive cultivation and their requirement was for a physical space that supports direct sales and allows them to interact and engage with customers. One of the major challenges faced by the architectural studio was that they needed to create a wooden structure on an island that didn’t have the appropriate drying and processing facilities. They also had to propose the conversion of a plastic greenhouse into a drying machine and needed to use a small CNC processing machine. These steps took some effort to meet fruition. The client was also involved in material procurement and construction, which minimized the carbon footprint within a 5.5 km radius.

The architectural team at VUILD and the contractor partnered up to advise the client on which stones and wood to source for the foundation and also provided guidance in the intricate and meticulous process of peeling, milling, and painting the wood. The entire structure is quite carefully placed around a 1000-year-old olive tree and is covered in a bent zinc panel cladding, with three varied layers of slits for lighting and ventilation. A sustainability engineer also created a three-way spreading form which was inspired by simulations. This form was created to encourage airflow. Precisely and intricately CNC-cut elements were utilized for the accurate assembly of the building and the walls, hence making room for environmental consciousness while using digital fabrication technology.

The interiors of the retail store are quite open and spacious. They are defined by large arch windows which provide access to stunning views of the ocean. The frame artfully exposes the structural beams which have been constructed from local wood, creating an interior that is raw yet sophisticated, with a character and persona of its own.