Innovative design brings nature and tranquillity to Yokohama city

Takashimaya, one of Japan’s most renowned department stores, has transformed its former warehouse into an outstanding luxury residential development. Situated in the business district of bustling city Yokohama, the new Kitsaiwai Building provides a peaceful sanctuary for residents, designed by the architects to create a ‘calming environment’. The building exhibits elegant planting and landscaping with Kebony, a beautiful and sustainable wood, used for the exterior decking, selected due to its enhanced physical properties and natural aesthetic.

The innovative development of the nine storey building was led by Hiroshi Nakamura & NAP. The Takashimaya Rose Hall, a spacious 500 capacity multi-purpose event space spans the first and second floor of the development and is widely used for exhibitions, award ceremonies and international conferences. The remaining seven floors are home to luxury apartments in which a calm living environment has been promoted through the use of natural materials like Kebony. Chosen to ensure the exterior decking would seamlessly merge with the surrounding foliage and greenery, the beautiful, naturally enhanced wood was a key part of the warehouse’s transformation and rejuvenation.

The architects were attracted to Kebony due to its durability, dimensional stability and rich brown tone which fades to a natural silver-grey patina over time. A resistance to wear was also a vital requirement of the development, which rendered Kebony and its hardwearing qualities the perfect material. The sustainable timber’s role in the redevelopment of the Kitsaiwai Building is another example of the company’s international growth and ambition, which has been supported by the opening of their new production facility in Belgium in October 2018.

Developed in Norway, Kebony’s revolutionary technology is an environmentally friendly process which modifies sustainably sourced softwoods by heating the wood with furfuryl alcohol – an agricultural by-product. By polymerising the wood’s cell wall, the softwoods permanently take on the attributes of tropical hardwood including enhanced physical properties and extended warranty. Although a natural material, the wood requires no maintenance beyond normal cleaning and can stand up to testing conditions far better than untreated softwood.

Mr. Yoshida of Toshin Development Co.,Ltd, part of the Takashimaya group, commented “We are delighted to see how our former warehouse has evolved into a modern, luxury development through Hiroshi Nakamura & NAP’s vision, and the use of innovative materials like Kebony. We are very proud to see the new Kitsaiwai Building being transformed into a peaceful space in Yokohama.”

Adrian Pye, International Sales Director at Kebony added, “The Kebony deck at the Kitsaiwai Building is impressive; it’s great to see how the material has been used in subtle and inventive ways around the world. We are certainly looking forward to working with Hiroshi Nakamura & NAP to create more special projects in the future.”