NewsPicks NewSchool

  • area / size 14,709 sqft
  • Completed 2020
  • Location Tokyo, Japan,
  • Ryusuke Nanki designed a clean and neutral space for effective learning at NewsPicks NewSchool in Tokyo, Japan.

    The NewsPicks GINZA project was brought to fruition through a uniquely close collaboration between business and design.

    Having been invited to join the design team at an early stage – so early, in fact, that the specifics of the ambitious project were still very much on the drawing board – we were afforded the opportunity to meticulously craft the new venue space in direct dialogue with a diverse range of project directors and other relevant parties. As the business model evolved, so did the design, symbiotically linked with the client’s vision.

    Located in the Tokyu Plaza Ginza mallcomplex, the NewsPicks GINZA complex encompasses a continued learning campus (NewSchool), an experimental retail/exhibition space (NewStore by Tokyu Hands), and a café (NewCafe).

    The site features an open-concept design that is meant to mirror the open-ended possibilities of the many visitors who study, hold meetings, record webinars, give presentations, create multidiscipline educational content, and admire exhibitions in the myriad of classrooms, workspaces, and digital media studios. Eschewing the conventional hermetic grid-matrix layout, these spaces were designed to be vibrant, fertile grounds overflowing with intellectual cross-pollination. In this way, the perambulatory layout takes a cue from the Japanese garden tradition.

    The layout inspires a sense of fluid motion. Dynamic flow lines beckon the visitor to glide through the cohesive space, noting classrooms equipped for live streaming, a profusion of windows, custom display shelving finished with detailing that echoes the design of these window apertures, a central stage flanked by chairs abutting the main thoroughfare, and furniture that spills seamlessly out from the café into the retail shops. In this open, visually compelling design, eyes are drawn to the action taking place in the classrooms and shops, complemented by sweeping views of the outside cityscape.

    Balancing the NewSchool “Principal’s” request for a Japanese-style space and the client’s identity as a global corporation, the design makes oblique, rather than direct, reference to the Japanese stylistic heritage. Upon closer inspection, the visitor notices the functional, more discreet, more universal appurtenances that speak to the elegant wisdom of the Japanese isles, accumulated from time immemorial. Wooden benches abutting the classrooms suggest the engawa verandas of traditional Japanese architecture, while also achieving an effective use of seating space.

    Square windows frame the classrooms in a traditional ichimatsu checkered pattern. Iconic round windows similarly expand the space, incorporating the outside scenery in the manner of the serene windows found overlooking traditional Japanese gardens. The common areas outside the classroom continue the scenic theme, with walkways designed to encourage unencumbered passage as if strolling through a garden. The soothing forms and color schemes of the fabric and furniture all also echo the natural world.

    Ultimately, we hope the project serves as a catalyst for creation, blending traditional Japanese aesthetic refinement with the 21st century tools for an increasingly interconnected world.

    Architect: Ryusuke Nanki
    Design Team: Ryusuke Nanki, Wakako Hirata, Satoru Kono, Nomura Kogeisha, Ryohei Azechi, Kazuyoshi Hikota
    Photography: Yasu Kojima, Ichiro Mishima