The design of the store echoes the soft curves of the brand’s meditative symbol, the Zazen Bear, a plush, stuffed bear sitting in the lotus position, intended to act as a reminder to stop, breathe deeply, and embrace the inner self. The curves and the symmetry of the bear, became the starting point for a design aimed at generating a calming environment. The store entry is a threshold mediating between the bustling streets of Soho and a space that fosters serenity, comfort, and meditation.
UNIQUE PROPERTIES / PROJECT DESCRIPTION:
The Zazen Bear Flagship store, located in Soho, NYC, is a Korean-Japanese multi-use concept shop that serves as a retail space, art gallery, and meditation center. Within a space designed to encourage peace, tranquility and harmony, Zazen features products, including jewelry, housewares and Zen spirited items; wellness programming, including yoga and meditation classes; and an art gallery, presently exhibiting painting and calligraphy work by the Japanese artist, Seiho.
OPERATION / FLOW / INTERACTION:
Users meander about the entry and upper levels while experiencing nature, via materials, and the refined retail environment that features Zen spirited items. For a moment of reprieve, away from the bustling heart of New York’s Soho district, users may descend down the gently sloping oak and metal stair to the lower level to discover a meditation and exhibition space.
PROJECT DURATION AND LOCATION:
Project started in 2014 and was completed the same year in Soho, New York
FITS BEST INTO CATEGORY:
Interior Space and Exhibition Design
PRODUCTION / REALIZATION TECHNOLOGY:
As part of the store concept we selected natural materials: Pietra di Vals for the main floor, Natural Oil finished white oak for the yoga studio floor, hand painted white oak for all the custom millwork elements (including the curved walls); the vertical grass wall features special type of
plants like the philodendron cordatum & golden philodendron (requires minimum light and easy to care), the marble queen Pothos (known for his purifying leaves, basically clean indoor air)
SPECIFICATIONS / TECHNICAL PROPERTIES:
2 floors, 350 sq meters
retail space, art gallery, meditation center, zazen bear, calm, jewelry, zen space, natural materials, organic forms
Research: A key strategy for Zazen was the incorporation of natural materials for their visual, phenomenological, and sustainability qualities. Research was performed to identify the viability of a planted wall (Philodendron-Cordatum and Marble-Queen Pothos were chosen for their durability). In addition to identifying plants that could be used in construction, sight lines from the street to the store interior were considered. The plant wall, visible from the exterior, also plays a performative roles, offering acoustical separation between floors and purifying the air.
Mitigating the acoustical exchanges between the stacked and varied programs—retail, above; exhibition and meditation, below—proved challenging. In order to preserve the maximum fluidity of circulation through the shop and run the plant wall continuously from the ceiling of the upper level to the floor of the lower level, we avoided the use of a complete physical barrier between levels. Kinetic stretch tracks along the stair wall were used to absorb the noise generated at upper level and thus maintain the peaceful environment at the lower level.
TEAM MEMBERS (6) :
Pierpaolo Martiradonna - Owner/Principal, Matteo Falcone - Partner, Francesco Marocco - Project Manager, Veronica Kan - Architect, Ashley Simone - Photographer and
Photography - Ashley Simone
Video - • Studio Matter
Justin Rigby, Bonnie Choi, Adrian Correia, Danny Vecchione