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Bring Life to Your Office with the Diversity of Trees—The Suzuyo HQ Renewal Project
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Outline

Renovating the offices of Suzuyo Co., Ltd. to help regional workers realize their potential

Suzuyo Co., Ltd. (hereinafter referred to as Suzuyo) is a general logistics agency in the Shimizu Ward of Shizuoka; we conducted a renewal on their 50 year old, five story building, and remodeled their separate office building. Hidakuma assisted in designing and producing wooden spaces and furniture.

The office renovation project, which was an attempt at drastically changing their work space and creating an environment that changes their employees’ behavior thinking, has been underway since May 2018 in collaboration with Suzuyo and Creative Company Loftwork Inc.

The kitchen counter lets you can interact with people through food.

It can be used for various events, formal functions, and meetings.

This project is an attempt to help change both the working environment and the awareness the employees in response to the rapidly changing environment, including the declining birthrate and aging population, manpower shortages, new technologies, and modern work styles.

Choose a place that suits you.

In keeping with Suzuyo’s management philosophy of “CODO” (“CO” for togetherness, and “DO” so doing in life), the 910-square-meter auditorium on the fifth floor of Suzuyo’s head office is lavishly furnished with hardwoods from Hida. The diversity of the shapes of wood, the richness of expression of various hardwoods, and the sense of presence that helps it provide a sense of security contribute to the formation of a bright and lively space.

How did Mr. Goto express his thoughts through hardwood? This article introduces the main CODO products that Hidakuma has been involved in creating. In the Members’ Voice section, you can read about the project, what they wanted to do with the space, and the appeal of wood as seen through their relationship with Hidakuma, from Mr. Goto, the designer, and Mr. Takahashi, the producer of Layout Unit, who was in charge of project management.

(See here for articles on ideas for the uses of hardwood, experimental samples they have produced, and the process used to make them a reality.)

【Project Overview】

      Support
 ・Planning
 ・Furniture and fixture design
 ・Furniture production direction
 ・Furniture and fixture prototype production
 ・Diagram and 3D model production
 ・Selection and acquisition of wood
 ・Process management
 ・Processing and manufacturing
 ・Shipping and installation

      Duration
 ・December 2018 – October 2019

      Organization
 ・Client: Suzuyo Co., Ltd.
 ・Production/project management/creative direction: Loftwork layout unit
 ・Construction supervision/interior design/furniture design: Goto Shuhei Architects
 ・Materials coordination/furniture production direction: Kotaro Iwaoka・Hideaki Asaoka・Teruyo Iiyama (Hidakuma)
 ・Production: Nishino Lumber, Fujii Furniture, Kanemoku, Kakishita Lumber, Tokiwa Lambatek, go-products、MIYAJIMA (in no particular order)
 ・Curtain design: Studio Akane Moriyama
 ・Sign design: hokkyok
 ・Photographs: OFP

Outputs

The gradation spaces with diverse hardwoods

In order for everyone to exercise their creativity and think and act accordingly, we aimed to create a workplace environment that is not only comfortable, but also allows for work styles the Suzuyo employees took initiative in creating, so that both the organization and its people can be bold in action as they grow.

It is designed to allow you to use the space for a variety purposes such as events, small seminars, and launching new products. The furniture and plants are on casters, making the space highly variable and customizable.

Hardwood Flooring

The corner with the sofa in the front left of the photo uses a mix of oak and chestnut is used.

A mix of three types of cherry trees on the stage: wild cherry, cherry tree, and cherry birch.

In the space in the foreground of the photo is a mix of castor aralia, conker, and sawa walnut.

The phone booth also uses a mix of castor aralia, conker, and sawa walnut.

Beech flooring

Hardwood flooring was used throughout the main building’s “CODO” space. The existing inorganic space was transformed into one of warmth.
The tree species were selected to match each space based on the samples that Hidakuma proposed to Mr. Goto.
A mix of oak and chestnut, which gradually darken with age, were used. The three types of cherry tree have a luxurious sheen and beautiful peach color. The mix of castor aralia, conker, and sawa walnut, utilizes the white of the wood to highlight the individuality of each species. The floor was made with the best in season tree this year: beech. Beech provides a variety  looks, with each cut allowing for a different type of expression.

<Specifications>
 Species:
 ・Oak and chestnut mix
 ・ Wild cherry, cherry tree, and cherry birch mix
 ・ Castor aralia, conker, and sawa walnut
 ・Beech
 Finish: Transparent glass coating

Elliptical, circular, and bean shaped hardwood tables

We prepared 20 elliptical, circular, and bean shaped tables. Different species were used for every hardwood tabletop. The species were selected to match the hardwood and other floors to create a sense of unity within each space. They all come with casters to allow customization for meetings, personalization, lunches and more.
The exquisitely curved elliptical tables were made in a calculated shape called a “super ellipse”. Their gentle curves bring a sense of comfort and distance at the eye level to those sitting around them, and to the walking areas in an area.
The gray table has a soothing, matte texture that resonates with the gray floor, and is made of a linoleum-like material called Felix NTM. It adds an accent that balances and tightens up the space.

<Specifications>
 Species: Tabletops / sawa walnut,  conker, chestnut, oak, beech, cherry, birch, FENIX NTM, etc.
 Number:
 [ Open Space ]
  Furniture: One large circular table, two circular tables, four elliptical tables, two bean shaped tables
 [ Box Furniture ]
  One large elliptical table, seven circular tables, four low tables, two coffee tables

Cypress and conker coffee tables

One of the hardwood tables in the tatami room. This coffee table is perfect for a relaxing space, with its gentle cypress and conker grain. Its steel legs underwent a special treatment for a powerful finish.

<Specifications>
 Materials: Tabletop | cypress, conker; Legs | steel with a hot dip galvanized finish
 Number: one L size, one S size
 Size: L|φ1200×H380 S|φ900×H340
 Finish: Transparent glass coating

Gradation counter

In order: red Japanese bird cherry, wild cherry, and birch (photo 1)

A gradation from white conker to green magnolia (photo 2)

The window counter is approximately 27 meters long. Large curtains by artist/textile designer Akane Moriyama have been installed on the windows, which gradually gradate from red to green. We explored the possibility of counters to match the curtains, and created a wood gradation of trees, going from Japanese bird cherry (red) → wild cherry (reddish brown) → birch (pink) → conker (white) → magnolia (green). The reddish area is where the activity is, and includes the kitchen, and the space becomes more relaxed as you move toward the green area, where it’s easier to relax and concentrate by yourself.

<Specifications>
 Materials: Japanese bird cherry, wild cherry, birch, conker, magnolia
 Sizes: W26800×D445×H670
 Finish: Transparent glass coating

Multifunctional stall

The main body is housed in the same frame so that it can be used in different combinations with the partitions in the space.

It allows for freedom in the layout, so that you can change it to match the scene.

This multifunctional stall plays a big part in events and everyday business. It was designed as a reception counter for events, but it can be used as storage space, a magazine rack, a power supply hub, and more on a day to day basis. It has 6 100V outlets, and can be brought near the table to be used as a power supply hub. The cord can be stored on the side so it doesn’t get in the way when you move it.
The body, outlet plugs, cords, and switches are all gray to help it harmonize with the space.

 <Specifications>
 Materials: Frame | steel   Box | Exterior: FENIX NTM; interior: polyester laminated panel
 Sizes: W1200 × D430 × H1800
 Specifications: Frame | zinc coating   Box | laminated panel finish

Members

Shuhei Goto
Born in 1982 in Iwata City, Shizuoka. Graduated from the Kyoto Institute of Technology with a major in architecture and design, and received a master’s degree from the same university. After working at Hideyuki Nakayama Architects, he founded Shuhei Goto Architects. He has been a part-time lecturer at Shizuoka University of Science and Technology since 2019.
www.shuheigoto.com

Photo: Hajime Kato

Suguru Takahashi
Loft Work Co., Ltd.  Layout Unit Producer
Born in Maebashi City, Gunma. He received his master’s degree from the Tokyo University of Science. After graduating, he worked at an architectural design firm, where he worked on mainly overseas clients’ properties and supervised the design of residential and commercial facilities. In 2018, he joined Loftwork, were he works on creating spaces. He strives to design values that connect people, society, and the future.
https://loftwork.com/jp/group/layout

Hideaki Asaoka
Belongs to the company Hida no Mori de Kuma wa Odoru (Hidakuma). From Hida City, Gifu Prefecture. After graduating from Nagoya University of the Arts, he worked in furniture manufacture and design at a furniture manufacturer and an interior design business. In 2016 he joined Hidakuma, working in a wide range of areas including product development, design, production and construction. He has extensive knowledge of wood and a profound respect for craftsmen. Asaoka works hard every day to confer new value to wood.

Member’s Voice

We re-designed auditorium on the top floor of the head office and the interior of the new neighboring annex as an experimental project to attempt to change the work style in this historic company. We aimed to create a liberated office space in both that would allow their users to discover new uses for their spaces, where floors can be used as desk or benches depending on your perspective. Hidakuma consulted with us early on regarding the idea of using wood as a material that could be used in a variety of ways, such as touching, stepping, or sitting. Thanks to their support, we were able to design a space that incorporated the characteristics of the wood materials, which varies greatly in color, hardness, age, availability, and processing methods from species to species and tree to tree.

Shuhei Goto
Shuhei Goto Architects

The aim of the office renovation was to create an environment where each and every employee could come up with their own work styles and take bold action. In order to create room for new ideas, we came up with the idea of creating gradations to create a number of area within one large space to obscure the meaning of the area and the way people spend time in it. In addition to making the existing concrete frame and prefab inorganic space more comfortable by using warm real materials, we also expressed the design by carefully combining various tree species to convey the functional gradation at a glance. In addition, by using the same species of wood for the elements that people would touch, we were able to elevate our ideas to another level in terms of both comfort and design, and it became an office that was well received both inside and outside of the company. I think that this is what makes Hidakuma so unique; we to offer a service that combines wood coordination and original furniture production. And, above all, it’s fun to be able to use hardwood however we want!

Suguru Takahashi
Loft Work Co., Ltd.  Layout Unit Producer

More than 10 different hardwoods were used in this project. Among them, there are types that are common in forests, but are not usually used.
We worked together with Mr. Goto and our woodworking partners in Hida to figure out how to use the wood meaningfully for each area, rather than just using a variety of wood species.
There are types of wood that function well for a variety of uses; for example, there are a types with grain that does not stain easily and is great for walking on, types with white and gentle grains that are great for spaces where you need to relax, and others that feel good to the touch.
I once again came to feel that wood is the flexible material, and that it can meet such expectations.

Hideaki Asaoka
Hidakuma

Photographs: Kenta Hasegawa (All Outline and Output photographs, except 1-2)

Interested in Creating Architecture and Design with Hida’s Hardwood Trees?

Hidakuma’s professional staff members are here to offer you a total support, ranging from consulting, designing to set up of wood space, building materials, and furniture. For enquiry, please contact us from here.

Mr. Goto, Mr. Takahashi, and the Hidakuma members (At FabCafe Hida in January 2019)