I received a request in-person from the 17th-generation family head of Toraya, “we are rebuilding the sweet salon located on the land of our house’s origin, and we would very much like you to do the lighting.” The very-longstanding confectioner was founded in Kyoto in the late-Muromachi period (16th century). Having served as a purveyor to the imperial court, Toraya still now operates a confectionary business located very close to the Kyoto Imperial Palace. For this project, I was looking for light that, while respecting the silent tranquility residing in the residential neighborhood, was able to create an appeal that would entice those viewing from outside and, conversely, create comfort for those inside. The idea that stuck with me while thinking about the theme of sweets was that basic instinct one has as a small child of wanting to put every fascinating object in one’s mouth. “That’s it! I will make lights that people will want to gobble up like sweets.”
I visited a center of pottery production close to Nagoya called Oribe-no-Sato, and requested that it be thin enough to be translucent and as smooth as rice paste skin. The soft light diffusing fixtures in form of the Toraya logo faintly illuminated typical Kyoto-style paths. Inside the sweet salon, in the area of the beautiful wooden vaulted ceiling that received gentle up-light, I arranged custom-made, blown-glass petite pendant lights. Designing to the concept of “library café,” where customers can leisurely pass the time, I thus realized special lighting ambiance that, while providing accents, emanated sparkles even noticeable through the bamboo blinds from Ichijo-dori Street.