The design studio Matsuya Art Works Co.Ltd was appointed by their client Matsuo Gakuin to re-design the interior of this building, which was to house the Toshin Satellite Preparatory School. In this area there is a high concentration of girls’ schools and it was therefore important that the design be innovative and unique. As the building faces a bustling shopping street along a busy route for passing school children, and the exterior of the building is made entirely of glass, it was anticipated that an engaging design could have a positive impact on increasing student enrolment numbers.
Since the surrounding area has a high concentration of girls' schools, it was assumed that most of our Matsuo Gakuin’s customers would be female students. Therefore, when designing the new school building, Matsuya Art Works we were conscious of the need to produce a design that would be aesthetically appealing to female students.
The team, headed by Executive Designer Tetsuya Matsumoto, drew inspiration from the Japanese word ‘Kawaii’ which has a special meaning for the Japanese. Whilst it is a particularly hard concept to convey in any other language, it is often translated in English to mean ‘cute’ and it is a term that covers a multitude of things loved by young Japanese girls.
In attempting to incorporate this concept of ‘Kawaii’ into the design, the first loose idea that came to mind was a house with a gabled roof, once seen in a child’s picture book. With this image serving to help shape the project, pentagonal shapes were used so that all of the rooms would be visible through the glass wall from the shopping street, combined with a bold use of colour.
In addition, by slightly altering the pentagonal shape to make it irregularly-shaped, the form conveyed a feeling of imperfection, lending it an unsophisticated quality, thereby further enhancing the ‘Kawaii’ world concept and successfully fulfilling the brief of appealing to young female students.