Tokyo Design Center


Japan Design Consultants Association (JDCA) Review

Mario Bellini 1991.12
When I was taken to the spot, I was immediately attracted by the immense difficulties of the task: to design what was to be the Tokyo Design Center on an area that was both important and extremely difficult. Facing a very wide avenue, the Sakurada Dori, and visible every day by millions of people from the nearby platform of Gotanda Station, the site is a remarkably irregular one. It is partially obstructed by an existing commonplace building which interrupts the site’s continuity, whilst on the side behind the street, it is confined, up to third-floor level, by a surprising Japanese garden that climbs steeply.
I quickly felt that the central theme of the architectural composition was to give unity, Identity and depth to the whole building while taking advantage of the unusually divided street front and of the differences in height and landscape. Two wings, almost two towers, squeeze the extraneous building between them until it actually “”disappears”” as a result of their clear and sharply recognizable design.
A public galleria crosses the new building diagonally, thereby also visually connecting the station and the urban level with the Internal raised garden.
The galleria distributes and interconnects all the access points and most significant parts of the Design Center, stressing its role, form and position like a gigantic X-ray. Among these the most Important, due to its function as a continuous vertical pivot, is the cylindrical and glazed elevator hall. This cylinder surfaces and emerges in the shape of a cupola from the solid terraces stepping downwards which, with their rhythmic rows of terracotta vases, respond to the old Japanese garden as an emblematic garden-building in the Italian style.

Design Architect: Mario Bellini, Production Architect: Yukitaka Kawazu, Lighting Planner: Kaoru Mende, Sign Planner: Tetuichi Tomonaga
Award: 26th SIGN Association AWARD, 11th National Lighting Contest, 8th Shop System Competition, 13th BCS Prize by Japan Federation of Construction Contractors, Good Design Award

Recommend by
Tokyo Design Center
5-25-19 Higashi-Gotanda, Shinagawa-ku, Tokyo 141-0022
Year of Completion
Mar. 1992

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