It is through honoring the heritage of porcelain that designer Kei Harada of DO.DO has managed to provide a unique space for his client, ŌYANE, a Saikai porcelain shop and gallery space in the town of Hasami, in Nagasaki, Japan. To achieve this, the minimal two story building which was inaugurated in July 2016, was given a complete interior and exterior overhaul, resulting in a space that is bright, easy-to-navigate and thoroughly single focused, from the ground up.
These special touches begin with the exterior floor and stairway that contain irregularly cut slices of beautiful blue and white porcelain embedded within the cement. It almost seems a shame to walk on it and one can't help but wonder what the porcelain items used to be before they were "reborn" to form such a unique flooring element.
The certain thing is that these porcelain items were undoubtedly beautiful, as is evident from their intact "relatives" which are on display within the 140 square meter large shop space inside the brick structure. Inside, the perfectly glazed specimens await eager customers’ perusing (and undoubted purchasing). In fact, the entire space is like a shopable gallery; its simple construction and layout as well as its pristine white floors, walls and shelves bringing the focus steadily onto the Saikai porcelain pieces all the while referencing the ancient industry that has flourished in the town of Hasami for 400 years.
The surrounding walls were created from a tight colonnade of porcelain plates, each stacked on top of the other, and reaching from floor to ceiling. Even the large shop counter and many of the display cabinets were created with history in mind. Specifically, these are constructed out of stacked columns of "boshi" - the white, drawer-like cases that were used in order to fire pottery in years gone past - and topped with glass.
Back outside, the new roofed-patio pays further homage to the industry, seen through the white, steel frame structure and corrugated metal roof resembling the old factories that are traditionally found in the area. Then there are the stacked light gray, plastic storage crates topped with a porcelain "counter" to form the long table and benches of the patio (this space was created as a venue to hold porcelain-themed workshops, outdoors markets and various events where porcelain is once again the main attraction).
To say that ŌYANE is a focused destination would be an understatement: Because the general ambiance and technical aspects of its design are all systematically geared towards encouraging participants to join in the history-making of porcelain and to help shape its promotion and future.