This project won the 2013 Architizer A+ Popular Choice Award in the retail category. See the full list of winners here.
Sugamo Shinkin Bank's motto is “we take pleasure in serving happy customers,” and even the biggest killjoy would have trouble suppressing a smile upon entering one of this credit union's whimsical, brightly colored branches. Its latest home, designed by Emmanuelle Moureaux Architecture + Design, in the Shimura region of Tokyo, is no exception. With its tiered rainbow roof, flower-stenciled interiors, and a facade that glows neon at night, Sugamo Shinkin's irresistible Shimura branch won over the hearts of Architizer readers, who awarded it an A+ popular choice award in the retail category.
Emmanuelle Moureaux had previously done the design for two other Sugamo Shinkin locations when the bank approached the Tokyo-based firm to tackle its newly rebuilt branch in Shimura. "When I visited the site for the first time, it was very noisy," says lead architect Emmanuelle Moureaux. "There was a big street with a lot of cars, high buildings, etc., and I naturally looked up toward the sky. So I decided to create a building where people naturally look up, in order to breathe and refresh."
The celestial theme is apparent from the building's white square exterior, which features colored panels stacked above the entrance, with blue at the top so as to blend in with the sky. "I imagine the building as a colorful mille-feuille," says Moureaux. "During the day, with the light of the sun, each color is reflected on the white surfaces. The 12 colors blend with the white, the white becoming a colored white, and a natural soft gradation appears, like a rainbow."
Once inside, the motif continues, with elliptical skylights and a large curved-glass opening in the center of the structure, which allows visitors to gaze up at the sky. Dandelion puffs in red, orange, and yellow dot the ceiling like clouds. The first floor includes ATMs, teller windows, consultation booths and an open space laid out with chairs in 14 different colors. Offices, meeting rooms, and the cafeteria are located on the second floor, while the third floor is reserved for staff changing rooms. Can you say adorable?
Photos: Daisuke Shimokawa / Nacasa & Partners