ISAMU KATAYAMA, the founder of the worldwide leather product brand “BACKLASH“, produced the gallery located in the basement of the building in a quiet residential area, one street from Hachiman street that connects Meiji street to Daikanyama station.
After going down the mortar stairs finished with metal trowel, you will find the unique and large fully openable glass shutter, and intentionally aged-looking steel spandrel wall.
When you go inside, you will see the epoxy coated floor built with black mortar. The floor will make you believe as if it were the real water surface.
The ceiling and walls made with mortar are finished with metal trowel, just like the exterior wall.The large steel door can divide this plain and basic space into two rooms.The door, which is made with industrial parts and finished in matte black, creates the massive atmosphere in the space.
On the whole, the gallery has not only basic but also contemporary atmosphere through using the simple combination of the plain materials such as steel, mortar, and black mortar, and the modern material such as epoxy resin.
This gallery, named “ALMANAC”, will age and mature over a long period of time like the leather products that ISAMU KATAYAMA produces with his spirit.
Photo by KozoTakayama
To put it in physics terms, if the entity A disappears from a space, it means the new entity B takes A’s place. So if you take a bed out of the room when you are moving house, the same quantity of air as the bed fills the space that has been occupied by the bed. This project is a renovation of the boutique for BACKLASH, a brand admired by leather enthusiasts around the world.
It occupies the 1st and 2nd floors of a three-story building located at the corner of a main street and an alley in Daikanyama, near Shibuya.
The no-frills exterior of the building is made of gray mortar finished with a metal trowel with the same antique sashes attached to the 1st and 2nd floor windows. The ivy crawling on the walls with moderate antique finish makes the building look as if it has been there for many decades.
Opening a military-looking antique door with a small plate inscribed “BACKLASH”, there appears a space with a taste acquired through a series of processes over a long period of time. The underlying spirit is just like the one in the brand’s well-processed leather clothes. The floor and walls are finished with plaster. The floor is made of mortar mixed with charcoal to create an uneven texture while the walls are antique-finished to express a sense of accumulated time like an old barn. As to the structure of the building, black oxide steel is used, which was processed to be partly rusty, reflecting the brand’s philosophy just like the floors and walls. The fixtures include a workbench with a thick wood board with a distinctive texture after a long use in a factory, rusty expanded metal lockers exposed to the weather, an aged customer counter with a vise, and a plain and tough hanger rail. Each was carefully selected and installed in an exactly right place just like the way Mr. Katayama selects and sets leathers, buttons, and zippers when making clothes. A heavy-looking spiral staircase at the back of the 1st floor rhythmically leads to the totally different space on the 2nd floor. It is a symbol of the will for further pursuit of improvement from the regular brand BACKLASH to the custom-made brand LINE.
The 2nd floor is the space for LINE, which is the custom-made line for high-end leather lovers who discovered the beauty of the material from BACKLASH and are looking for higher levels. It is a new concept brand born out of BACKLASH. This is why the space is like an all-white clean room reminiscent of a laboratory or operating room. White resin flooring is used for the floor, only 100×100 white tiles 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 in order to produce the extremely minimal space. A stainless steel rack was installed for displaying samples and a counter to take orders. And in the back of the floor, two industrial sewing machines were placed as symbolic elements with plants of Katayama’s choice next to them. The organic color and form of the 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 to transform themselves to eternal
Photo by KozoTakayama