ABOUT About COCON KARASUMA
adds a touch of luxury to your everyday life
is a sophisticated commercial complex where Kyoto's traditional and modern lifestyle blend together.
There are shops of refined taste, casual and fashionable cafes and restaurants, a movie theater that showcases quality films,
and a gallery where you can experience contemporary art and design.
The time you spend at COCON KARASUMA gives you a little excitement and sophistication.
Showa Architecture Surviving the Tumultuous Era
The original building was the former Marubeni Building first built in 1938 during the early Showa era. Known as one of the best-designed architectures created by Hasebe-Takekoshi Architects Office, a predecessor of current Nikken Sekkei Construction Management, Inc.., the building used to be a centerpiece of Kyoto's bustling business district townscape. After surviving World War II without damage, the building was requisitioned as a regional office of the general headquarters (GHQ) of the occupation army. With such a history reminiscent of the turbulent Showa era, the building is remembered by many people with fondness.
The Old and New Overlap at New Landmark
The ancient city of Kyoto was the center of Japanese politics and culture for over a
thousand years and the Shijo-Karasuma area in Kyoto was once the center of business,
crowded with banks and securities companies. The former Marubeni Building, an iconic
entity of the Kyoto's business district, has been transformed into a gorgeous
building through renovation while retaining the atmosphere of the renowned modern
COCON, meaning old and new, is what we expect to discover through the overlapping of past and present. KARASUMA is the name of the area which has been the center of business and where we hope to create a new kind of urban vibe. So we named our facility COCON KARASUMA, hoping to spread the bustling atmosphere far and wide, and become a new landmark of Kyoto.
The pattern drawn on the green glass structure adorning the facade of COCON KARASUMA
is called Tempyo Ogumo. It is a pattern that has been handed down for generations
since the Edo period by the long-established karakami paper maker, KIRA KARACHO. This
pattern was selected from more than 600 printing woodblock designs inherited by
generations of paper artisans. While the basic appearance of the former building is
retained, an extra structure has been incorporated as a new element of the building,
with the traditional pattern drawn on the film coating over the glass to symbolize
the overlapping of old and new.
The color of green was selected to match the color of the trees lining the streets in accordance with Kyoto City's landscape regulations, which stipulate that only colors seen around the street can be used. The building glows beautifully when lit up at night, adding a unique color to Karasuma Street. In an attempt to change the dull landscape of building shutters lining the street, COCON KARASUMA brings a different vibe, serving as the center of the move toward more prosperity. The extra structure, which is designed to be functional as well, also plays the role of bringing together the existing and extended parts of the building to create a feeling of integration.
The accumulation of time, and the accumulation of beautiful scenery and value. The facade of this building represents COCON KARASUMA's accumulation of various things.
KARACHO's original pattern: Tempyo Ogumo
Tempyo Ogumo represents a series of clouds connected to each other by a thin tail, undulating high up in the sky. It is a sign of very good luck to those who see it. Because clouds are known as a harbinger of rain, which is critical for a bountiful harvest, this pattern is believed to call good things to come and attract better fortune.
Atmospheric elements feature natural light pouring in from the ceiling's numerous cylindrical openings of three different sizes and a large water cascade (25 meters long). This healing space incorporating light and water was built during the building's renovation. It is also given a historical touch by the stone wall opposite the cascade, the remaining exterior wall of the former building. Various events including exhibitions and pop-up retail are held here, making it a multipurpose space where many people gather for fun and relaxation.
The thick and sturdy floor is what remains from the former Marubeni Building. Architect Kengo Kuma's research revealed that ipe wood from the Southwest Pacific was used in the original construction.
The restoration of the floor wood, which was severely damaged after the use of 70 years, was conducted with a great deal of time and money. Each piece of wood was carefully repaired by hand to reproduce its original appearance. Get a feel of the overlap of time periods from the texture of real parquetry, which is somewhat different from today's wooden flooring.
The stairs, also from the former Marubeni Building, are finished with mosaic tile flooring which is rarely seen today. In hopes of conveying the charm of the material and the beautiful memories of the past, we have restored it as well as other spaces and rooms which also retain some of the distinct characteristics of the original building.
World Famous Architect Supervises Renovation of Historic Building
The redevelopment project of this building was undertaken by Kengo Kuma, a contemporary architect who is active in the international arena. He chose to renovate the old building as he hoped to "express the overlap of two eras, the past and the present." While respecting the memories and history of the bygone era which remain in the former Marubeni Building, Kuma has succeeded in creating a refined urban appeal by adding new scenery.
Kengo Kuma was born in 1954. Before establishing Kengo Kuma & Associates in 1990, he received his Master’s Degree in Architecture from the University of Tokyo, where he is currently a University Professor and a Professor Emeritus. Having been inspired by Kenzo Tange’s Yoyogi National Gymnasium, built for the 1964 Tokyo Olympics, Kengo Kuma decided to pursue architecture at a young age, and later entered the Architecture program at the University of Tokyo, where he studied under Hiroshi Hara and Yoshichika Uchida. During his Graduate studies, he made a research trip across the Sahara, exploring various villages and settlements, observing a unique power and beauty. After his time as a Visiting Scholar at Columbia University in New York, he established his office in Tokyo. Since then, Kengo Kuma & Associates has designed architectural works in over twenty countries and received prestigious awards, including the Architectural Institute of Japan Award, the Spirit of Nature Wood Architecture Award (Finland), and the International Stone Architecture Award (Italy), among others. Kengo Kuma & Associates aims to design architecture which naturally merges with its cultural and environmental surroundings, proposing gentle, human scaled buildings. The office is constantly in search of new materials to replace concrete and steel, and seeks a new approach for architecture in a post-industrial society.
Winner the 16th BELCA Best Reform Award
The COCON KARASUMA project received the 16th BELCA Best Reform Award for Buildings and Equipment by the Long-Life Cycle Association for restoring historically valuable buildings through excellent renovation.