Shonan T-SITE, the second bookstore project created by Klein Dytham architecture for Tsutaya, Japan’s leading media and retail company, opened in December 2014. It embodies a deepening of the new generation retail concept initially created by KDa for Daikanyama T-SITE, which opened in Tokyo in December 2011 and has since won a string of plaudits including World’s Best Shopping Centre at the World Architecture Festival and the 2013 Grand Prize at Design For Asia.
Shonan T-SITE is located in Fujisawa Sustainable Smart Town (FSST) a former Panasonic TV factory site around 50km west of Tokyo. The area is currently being developed into a model smart town, with the creation of 1,000 highly efficient solar-powered homes designed to accommodate a modern and connected community. Shonan T-SITE forms the centrepiece of the development.
Inspiration for the distinct façade came from the name of the company “Tsutaya”, which is written with two kanji letters: “tsuta” meaning ivy and “ya” meaning house. As a result, an ivy pattern was incorporated onto the white façade of the trio of buildings. This leaf motif complements the iconic woven “T” pattern used in the Daikanyama project and compensates for the lack of greenery in the surroundings.
One major influence was the fact it is located just 2km from the Shonan coast, an area famed for its laid-back surfing lifestyle. This resulted in a relaxed, informal and accessible dimension to the overall design of the project.
Centre stage is magazine street, a 120-metre ground floor spine that cuts through the three buildings and forms the main navigation device for the whole site. Magazine street – which also exists in the Daikanyama store, although it’s less than half the length – can perhaps be viewed as a contemporary reinvention of the traditional Japanese “shotengai” shopping street.
A celebration of the analogue in harmony with the digital, Shonan T-SITE places books and magazines at the heart of the project, offering a retail experience driven by a quest for knowledge and culture.
As in Daikanyama, magazine street is divided thematically into different categories – travel, cookery, photography etc. However, Shonan T-SITE takes this concept one step further with more than 30 retail, commercial or restaurant units also plugged into it.
Filled with vintage magazines and books and comfortable seating, Shonan Lounge is a café and bar designed as a relaxing and inspiring space in which to sit and browse. Glass cases are lined with a carefully-curated selection of contemporary art and rare vintage books plus magazines for sale. The space is also home to a walk-in glazed fabrication lab, offering the opportunity to 3D print objects or UV print graphics onto your laptop or mobile phone.
Another highlight of the complex is Shonan Lounge. The space is located on the upper floor of the project, an area which connects back to magazine street through a series of double height spaces along its length. At one end are two large restaurants with terraces offering breathtaking views of Mount Fuji, while Shonan Lounge is located on the opposite side.