A set of giant wooden tables and chairs shelters the glass buildings of Sweets Bank, the headquarters of sweets company Shunkado in Hamamatsu City, Japan, designed by Nikken Sekkei.
Described by the practice as a “social media friendly” building, the oversized furniture, which is thirteen times the regular scale, is modeled after furniture from Shunkado’s cafe.
“The site’s oversized but carefully designed tables and chairs are intended as an expression of the company’s Shunkado slogan: ‘we want people to spend family time at the table with sweets,'” explained Nikken Sekkei.
“In the modern age of social media, where a single image can instantly capture hearts and minds, the image of the building itself becomes the medium, drawing people to regional cities and creating memorable experiences to broadcast to the world.”
A mixed facility, the building combines offices for Shunkado with a restaurant and cafe as well as a branch of the local bank Hamamatsu Iwata Shinkinwhose combination gave the project the name: Sweets Bank.
“The building is composed of two main elements: furniture that shelters from rain and sun and glass boxes that ensure comfort,” explained the practice.
“The oversized table and chairs are designed to represent actual furniture while overcoming challenges related to structure, finish, drainage and mechanical systems, creating a reality that enhances the city and attracts people,” it continued.
The project is divided into a pair of two-storey glass blocks. A smaller block to the south contains offices for the bank, while the larger block to the north houses a cafe and shop on the ground floor and offices for Shunkado above.
At the entrance to both blocks, the oversized tables and chairs create sheltered terraces, dotted with sculptures including an oversized gift bag, sake bottle, stool and a red pig.
The terrace appears to peel upwards at the site’s south-west corner, creating a vertical surface on which the project’s name appears in metal letters.
Inside the cafe, giant cups and teapots have been used to create tables and sculptures that continue the playfulness of the exterior.
The offices themselves are more minimal and subdued, with simple interiors that frame the view of the surrounding furniture through the large windows.
“The glass cases were designed abstractly and simply detailed to serve as a furniture backdrop,” the practice said.
On the roof, the tables are finished with faux tablecloths, with mechanical services hidden by patterned covers designed to look like gift boxes.
Previous projects by Nikken Sekkei include the Ariake Gymnastics Center in Tokyo, designed for the delayed 2020 Olympics and Paralympics to be a celebration of wooden construction. The studio also created the Olympic Village Plaza from 40,000 pieces of wood.
Photography is by Kenta Hasegawa unless otherwise noted.