The 3L practical research institute from Ricoh Co., Ltd.
We sought to create a space with a creative atmosphere, where Ricoh employees could immerse and challenges themselves with things like new projects, and that could promote collaboration inside and outside the company.
Ricoh has its headquarters in Omori, Ota-ku, Tokyo, where it was originally founded, and is adjacent to the residence of founder Kiyoshi Ichimura, which is currently being managed as a foundation. Ricoh is said to have jumped up from this region many years ago, leaping forward as a global company.
Internalized, inverted facade.
This building, originally receiving the proviso of Article 48 of the Building Standards Act, stands in a residential area.
For that reason, it doesn’t appear to have undergone a dramatic change as a new, renovated building, but rather the exterior and greenery combine into a well-developed aesthetic, enabling it to integrate into the local residential area. We aimed to leave a modest and unobtrusive appearance, by arranging the opening proportions to correspond to the new floor plan, and only changing the entrance to match the change in approach.
On the other hand, with the space inside the building for activities, we aimed for employees to be able to freely and actively work and move around.
Furthermore, it was pointed out from the competition stage of the project that it’s important not only to support the energy of individual activities, but also for that energy to be continuously connected and expanded among employees.
One of the characteristics of the existing building was that it had a large space used as a gymnasium (hereafter, “BOX”). In response to the important point of consideration above, we proposed the creation of a new internal facade that would have a panoramic view of the space’s activities. As a result, a private project room was placed at the BOX-side facade of the other building, and the activities within can be viewed from the BOX.
The facade on the opposite side is a retaining wall, and we prepared a large mural drawn according to the client’s request: Ricoh, once a start-up, asked for something ‘that evokes a sense of vitality; a breath of spring’. While standing in the BOX, you’re sandwiched between two large surfaces: the large mural on the retaining wall, and the in-progress project room on the opposite site.
The BOX also has a large staircase, so that you can look out from all different angles. Random artificial crests dotting the space were designed to make people feel as if they were in a camp, free to explore themselves. We aimed to increase daytime usage too, by making it available for tailored meetings, as well as pitch events and workshops.
In the other building lies the PRISM, where the technology team conducts experiments; the project room, mentioned above; the lab, where you can make mock-up; a bar, etc, where peopl can migrate between the rooms. Compared to the vertical aspect of the BOX, we aimed to add horizontal development to encourage not only interaction between employees, but also innovation to working and meeting people by preparing various mechanisms and providing spatial support.
3L(Ricoh Company, Ltd. )
Ricoh Company, Ltd.: Jun Inada, Haruki Murata, Rikinobu Fujita, Shuichi Takeda, Ryuichi Shirane, Ryo Furutani
Direction: HIROYUKI TANAKA ARCHITECTS
Architectural planning & Construction: SHIMIZU BLC Co.,ltd.
Technology: art and program, inc.
Art Direction: Yoshihisa Tanaka
graphic design: Yutaro Yamada
Web Design: Shed
furniture: COMPLEX UNIVERSAL FURNITURE SUPPLY INC, inter office ltd., butter Inc.
lighting planning: ModuleX Inc.
landscape: Landscape house
fabric: fabricscape, NEAT Co.,ltd., pacific house textile co.,ltd.
Interior support: TANK
sign support: Fujiwara Earthen Art Studio, Paint factory
wall art: Hiraku Suzuki
photo: Kenta Hasegawa