At long last, our roadside store by the sea is complete.
Pay 100 yen at the Zuyo-Shindo tollgate, drive through the tunnel, take a left at the Nagisabashi intersection with the Sma-R sign, and there they are: a gleaming Airstream trailer and a beachside apparel store.
Gaze out across the ocean and you’ll see the sunlight sparkling on Sagami Bay. Turn inland, toward the mountains, and our Hayama store is nestled by Shojoji temple in the foothills, as if watching over the waves.
If the road from the sea to Shojoji is the sando, or temple approach, then our Hayama Store is a lantern hall that lights the way. In fact, the architects who designed it named it the Hayama-Todo, or “Hayama Hall of Light.”
The New Material Research Laboratory, or “Shinsoken” (short for “Shinsozai Kenkyujo,” its name in Japanese), was founded in 2008 by contemporary artist Hiroshi Sugimoto and architect Tomoyuki Sakakida. Its mission is to research traditional materials and techniques and experiment with using them to build structures that are completely new.
Our Hayama store is a one-of-a-kind twelve-sided “hall of light” built by Shinsoken and a team of first-class traditional Japanese carpenters.
When darkness falls, the six triangular windows rising from the roof in a hexagonal spire glow with a warm light. From a distance, the store could almost be a lighthouse.
The main building material was Sanbu-sugi cedar from Chiba.
Thirty-six massive logs were gathered for the project, all from trees more than two hundred years old, and only the finest of their red-tinged timber was selected for the Hayama store. When you visit, please take a moment to admire the beauty of the Sanbu-sugi woodgrain. Every board of timber was laid out together for inspection before construction began, and the carpenters carefully arranged the pieces according to the traditional procedures to ensure the most beautiful alignment of the grain.
Sanbu-sugi is known for its hard, solid texture and ability to weather the elements. It seemed almost made to build our Hayama store, which now begins to spin a history of its own.
The marble flooring was originally used in an old monastery in Alsace, France. We made sure to preserve the character that centuries of use have given the stone, retaining the slight roughness with almost no processing. The mild, gentle light that greets you as you enter is the sunlight off the sea dully reflecting from this rough-hewn marble floor.
The roofing is copper. Copper roofing has been used on shrines and temples since ancient times, making it the perfect material to adorn a Hall of Light. It is known for weathering exquisitely with the passage of time. The salt breeze will gradually turn our Hayama store’s roof a deep blue-green.
Further enriching our Hayama store with verdant color is the flora planted around it.
At the entrance is a black pine and a miniature Yeddo hawthorn, while an oleander bush thrives at the store’s rear. The Japanese names of these plants incorporate the characters for pine, bamboo, and plum, respectively, making up the traditional trio that symbolizes flourishing and prosperity.
Opposite the black pine stands another symbolic tree: a sweetbay magnolia from the United States. Many will be familiar with its early summer blossoms and their sweet vanilla fragrance.
On the ocean side stands an olive tree from Europe and a cycad for a hint of the tropics, rounding out the diverse and colorful plant life adorning the store.
45R’s culture combines ocean, town, and country in a blending of Japanese and Western sensibilities.