Eastern aesthetic with western flavours

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Ryohei Kanda/Roito designs the new flagship store of Morozoff, the historic confiserie founded in Kobe almost a hundred years ago

If, strolling the streets of Macau or Singapore, you ask a passer-by the way to one of the many Morozoff flagship stores located across the city, they will probably smile as they answer, because the name evokes delicious confectionery and luxurious interiors. In fact, Morozoff is the name of one of South-East Asia’s most famous confectionery stores – founded in 1931 by Russian émigré Fedor Dimitrievich Morozoff and now with thousands of points of sale, 1,000 in Japan alone – which has successfully combined the richness of western flavours with the strict aesthetic principles of Japan.

When asked to design the new flagship store in Kobe, Ryohei Kanda/Roito had to grapple with tradition: “We wanted to create a project that dialogued with the past but would give customers a foretaste of an even more fascinating future. So in the store’s facade we reproduced the graphic design of the packaging of Arcadia, Morozoff’s most famous product, the name of which evokes the Greek concept of Utopia, a perfect place offering a perfect life.”

In the interior, the profound bond with nature, a major feature of Japanese culture, is represented by the installation on the ceiling of multicoloured foliage in constant, slight motion, interspersed with suspended transparent spheres placed at the entrance and above the sales counters, where visitors are invited to explore the myriad of sweet delights on offer. On the back wall, the carefully chosen materials comprise panels striped in alternating colours and a mosaic wall covering in soft ivory colour, a Marazzi custom stone-effect technical stoneware also used on the floor in an intriguing variety of sizes (30×30, 30×60, 60×60), illustrating the collection’s crossover capabilities. The café area, cleverly located at the back of the store, is a lounge with an intimate atmosphere where customers can relax well away from the noise of the city. It is elegantly furnished and its dim lighting, its wood-covered walls and the tidy geometrical pattern of Mystone Silverstone Nero underline its tasteful luxury. This Marazzi stone stoneware, a reproduction of Pietra Serena stone, “gives concrete form to the spatial concept of my design”, Ryohei Kanda states. The imperceptible distinction between natural stone and stoneware is clearly denoted.

Ph. Daisuke Shima