- BACKLASHTo put it in physics terms, if the entity Adisappears from a space, it means the new entity B takes A's place. So if youtake a bed out of the room when you are moving house, the same quantity of airas the bed fills the space that has been occupied by the bed. This project is arenovation of the boutique for BACKLASH, a brand admired by leather enthusiastsaround the world.
It occupies the 1st and 2nd floors of athree-story building located at the corner of a main street and an alley inDaikanyama, near Shibuya.
The no-frills exterior of the building ismade of gray mortar finished with a metal trowel with the same antique sashesattached to the 1st and 2nd floor windows. The ivy crawling on the walls withmoderate antique finish makes the building look as if it has been there formany decades.
Opening a military-looking antique doorwith a small plate inscribed "BACKLASH", there appears a space with ataste acquired through a series of processes over a long period of time. Theunderlying spirit is just like the one in the brand's well-processed leatherclothes. The floor and walls are finished with plaster. The floor is made ofmortar mixed with charcoal to create an uneven texture while the walls areantique-finished to express a sense of accumulated time like an old barn. As tothe structure of the building, black oxide steel is used, which was processedto be partly rusty, reflecting the brand's philosophy just like the floors andwalls. The fixtures include a workbench with a thick wood board with a distinctivetexture after a long use in a factory, rusty expanded metal lockers exposed tothe weather, an aged customer counter with a vise, and a plain and tough hangerrail. Each was carefully selected and installed in an exactly right place justlike the way Mr. Katayama selects and sets leathers, buttons, and zippers whenmaking clothes. A heavy-looking spiral staircase at the back of the 1st floorrhythmically leads to the totally different space on the 2nd floor. It is asymbol of the will for further pursuit of improvement from the regular brandBACKLASH to the custom-made brand LINE.
The 2ndfloor is the space for LINE, which is the custom-made line for high-end leatherlovers who discovered the beauty of the material from BACKLASH and are lookingfor higher levels. It is a new concept brand born out of BACKLASH. This is whythe space is like an all-white clean room reminiscent of a laboratory oroperating room. White resin flooring is used for the floor, only 100x100 whitetiles for the walls, and hairline stainless steel for the ceiling and fixtures.As for lighting, only indirect white one is adopted with no down lights inorder to produce the extremely minimal space. A stainless steel rack wasinstalled for displaying samples and a counter to take orders. And in the backof the floor, two industrial sewing machines were placed as symbolic elementswith plants of Katayama's choice next to them. The organic color and form ofthe plants are in sharp contrast with the inorganic space, emphasizing the latter.Organic and inorganic, clean and dirty, black and white, and time and space,these opposing notions symbolize each other, merge, and finally simmer down totransform themselves to eternal