The Japanese architecture studio ROOVICE relocated its office onto the 11th floor of a 55 year-old commercial building in Kannai, Yokohama. The move was led by the fact that the previous workspace is set to be demolished, thus forcing the firm to look for a new place. At the same time, the studio increased its team, so a wider space was needed.
Project Name: ROOVICE Office
Studio Name: Roovice
Since its foundation back in 2005, ROOVICE’ has been characterised by a relaxed atmosphere given by the domestic vibe that the facilities were providing. One of the deepest philosophies of the studio is encouraging everyone to work enjoyably, taking a rest when feeling tired and rejecting the idea of a stressful job condition.
This is why for this renovation the design team included several areas whose purpose is to take a break rather than work: a fully furnished kitchen with a generous counter, a living area with plenty of furniture, a gym with its own locker room and even a shower.
Despite all the attention towards relaxing rooms, the centre of the new office sees the custom-made SPF wood working desks taking place. The material chosen was meant to keep the costs low and at the same time resemble a Western-style antique table.
Along the whole length of the facade run the rounded windows, with their unique design typical from the Showa Era which give a vintage atmosphere to the ambience.
Right in front, the living area is developed and it presents customised ita-uba benches that surround the tailored mid-century style coffee tables. Various plants and flower pots are placed behind or directly on top of the benches, thus raising the sense of quiet and relaxation. In addition to its common use of taking a break from work, this is also a nice spot for hosting informal meetings between coworkers or even with clients.
Perpendicular to the desks, the kitchen occupies all the southeast end of the office. The counter is covered in white 10×10 cm vintage Showa tiles and it provides enough room for having a meal all together or hosting parties with guests. Together with the counter, the column next to it is covered with the same tiles and goes in contrast with the raw concrete of the rest of the office.
The choice of the furniture had a key role in giving the ambience a timeless atmosphere: the zabuton (the typical cushion used in tatami rooms) placed on the benches is an example of merging traditional elements with new crafted furniture. The same applies for the noren (traditional Japanese fabric divider) that covers the storage shelf. With this contrast ROOVICE could manifest its idea towards renovation: old buildings and vintage elements can still have an active predominant role in today’s architecture if used properly and with the proper care.
Once passed the entrance, a compact hall leads to two different spaces. From the side opening you can access the meeting room, while from the front door you enter directly into the main office space. Obviously, the conference room can also be accessible from the work area, but the team wanted to give the meeting a domestic vibe. This is possible thanks to the furniture and the finished wooden floor, combined with the hall pavement in tiles. Those two are the only ones without a concrete floor, and they were supposed indeed to welcome the guests. The big openings in the meeting allow a view over the entire office, while the mid-century cupboard brings a touch of vintage in here as well.
This project represents the chance for ROOVICE to experience and push its vision towards architecture to its limits: experience is the best lesson and that to change the development of the country, first you have to make sure which way to follow.