Merry Christmas

Belated Merry Christmas from Las Vegas. 

普段は殆どストリップには行かないのだが、12月15日に新しくオープンしたThe Cosmopolitan Las Vegas (ザ・コスモポリタン・ラスベガス)を見に行ってみた。
場所はCity Centerのすぐ隣。Eastside Tower と、その後ろに続くWest End Towerがあり、コンドミニアムとして売り出してもいる。総工費は3.9 ビリオン・ドル。日本円で約3230億円・・・
This time, I visited a new hotel on Strip, The Cosmopolitan Las Vegas, that just opened on December 15th. It is composed of Eastside Tower and West End Tower, and located right next to City Center. Its total construction cost was 3.3 billion dollars... 

I was not a big fan of Winn and other hotels built in last 4-5 years because they are lack of details and luxury feeling. The Cosmopolitan is surprisingly gorgeous and detailed, and personally I enjoyed looking around.  

A bar placed inside of a huge chandelier.

Stores in a retail area were all well designed, and it was enjoyable even just to walk around. 

The photos here are showing little part of the whole space. Most of the interior surfaces are covered with stainless steel, wood and other materials, and it was very hard to find a piece of painted drywall inside of this hotel. The Strip in Las Vegas is a tourist place filled with money and desire. It makes me feel good to see this extremely rich interior instead of looking at sketchy exterior building designs with simple modern interiors.  

コンドミニアムとしても売り出しており、調べたところ600 SF (約55平米)のワンルームが$600,000 (約5000万円)から。1,200SF の角部屋のワンベッドルームで$1,350,000(約1億1千万円)からだそうだ。この場所と作りでこの値段なら、結構買う人がいると思う。
They have condominium portions and it is said that the starting price for a 600SF studio is $600K, and 1,200SF one bedroom corner unit starts from $1.35 Million.  I think they will sell good. 



The Spice Table - LA EATER

LA EATER に The Spice Table がとりあげられた。その他幾つかのメディアに既にとりあげられている様だが、今回は工事完成一歩前の写真がかなり載せられている。
The Spice Table was published on LA EATER. It has been picked up by other medias as well, but probably this is the first time to reveal the space a few steps before the completion. 

Light fixtures are not there yet, but other than that, things are almost finished. 
It took us such a long time to repair/ update the base building itself.

Link to LA EATER




We have relocated our office to a new place in last Friday. All the boxes were carried out to the corridor in minutes by a mover.

”この椅子、大切なので ” と話すと、しっかりラップもしてくれた。
My favorite chairs were wrapped completely per my request.

This is our new office. 
We have an open office space with a high ceiling on the ground floor.

This is our loading dock with a concrete floor on the back. We will use this space for multiple purposes. 

The second floor is my private office. 

All ugly surface mounted fluorescent fixtures have been....

replaced with halogen spotlights. I wish I could change the ceiling itself...

We were pretty tired by the evening. Photo showing some moody lightings we found in some boxes.



The Spice Table Update 2

The Spice Table のサインが壁に描かれた。このサインの描かれている長方形の黒い部分は元々は窓だったが、構造上の理由で今はコンクリートブロックで埋められている。
Store signs have been painted on the wall of The Spice Table. This black rectangle portion used to be a window, but it has been closed for a structural reason. 

Material of this counter had to be coordinated with the floor finish that gave us a hard time to make the final decision. At the end, we decided to go with concrete floor and wood counter base and  wood top. Our client has found a good millworker for this project. I think the finish matches very well with this 100 years old building and our concept.

Subcontractors rushing to finish up.  

After everyone has left, our general contractor, Ian, is confirming all the works done today.

I think he had less gray hair at the beginning of this project...




As a contract, a general contractor takes all the responsibilities for their subcontractors against the client. Designer's work is to stand between the general contractor and client as a client's representative with professional knowledge and experiences, and check to see if the construction is proceeding based on the design intended. We often receive questions from their subcontractors, but we don't provide any construction directions directly to them. 

Different from general contractors in Japan, many American general contractors don't have in-house designers and drafters.  In general, our client makes a direct contract with the general contractor, so there is no contract made between a general contractor and a designer (except design-build situation). This helps us argue with them easily, as required. 



Private Residence in Manhattan Beach - マンハッタン・ビーチの邸宅

A construction for a private residence in a wealthy neighborhood of Manhattan Beach has finished. 

Since we have not taken formal photos yet, we only have a snap shot. We were assigned to work on a house addition, custom cabinets, running water swimming pool and garden lighting design.  

Amazingly it took a 8 weeks long for City of Manhattan Beach to review our drawings, but the people at city was very corporative and we enjoyed working with them. 

For a house renovation project, we need to pay attention to the regulations set for the area such as garage size, setback distance from public streets, allowable building area, distance from the next door and height of the fence.

It depends on the area, but the value of the house could be increased by meaningful renovation. Moreover, I believe that the best pleasure for the dweller is the renovation could generate a pleasant feeling to live in the house everyday. 



Christmas Card

今年のテーマは、”1枚の紙から” 。
It's been a while since I updated this blog last time. 
Christmas is coming again, so we started our yearly event, Christmas Card design. 
Our theme for this year is "From a piece of paper". 
It wants to be simple, yet attractive. 

工事中のThe Spice Tableは、完成まであとわずか。


The construction of The Spice Table is coming to the end. 
This photo was taken a few weeks ago when I visited the site. 
When I looked up, there were two sets of legs sticking out if the ceiling....

Our current office lease will expire in the end of this year, so I was running around to look for our new office location and working on its interior design. This time I selected a warehouse + office space so that we can arrange the space freely. Our move will take place in the early December.  

Starting tomorrow, we have 4 days off due to Thanks Giving holidays. 
Well, I guess I will need to come to the office and start packing.



The Spice Table Update - The Spice Table アップデート

It's 7:00 A.M. on Saturday. I am at Starbucks near by my house.

LAのダウンタウンで工事が進行中のThe Spice Tableは、完成まであと1ヶ月。このプロジェクトの一番の山に差し掛かっている。
Our general contractor is experiencing the most major part of the construction of The Spice Table in LA downtown.

Photo below is showing our steels that will reinforce the window openings that had been closed with concrete blocks to add structural strength on exterior walls.

A worker cuts threaded rods to make steel pins to set the steel angels in place.

We have been carefully coordinating the hole spacing, size and depth with out structural engineer.

Because of the age of the building, some bricks collapsed when the holes were made.
After fixing the damages with concrete, our general contractor installs this metal mesh sleeves inside of the holes.  

The sleeve is filled with epoxy and each bolt is slided in one by one. This process is observed and checked by an inspector from the city.

In addition to this steel reinforcement of the building, we were to deal with installing vents for crawlspaces under the floor (there was non before), replacing the old damaged concrete floors, requesting more electric power supply to the city ( and its permit and equipment), replacing rotten plumbing pipes and many more to make this grandfather walk again.  



It is said that a kid requires high-maintenance is more adorable. I will observe its grand opening from a distance quietly, as if I were watching my child's departure after growing up.

Well, I guess it will be a departure of a revitalized grandfather than a child....  



arth Grand Opening - arth グランドオープニング

9月23日にarthのNY、Columbus Circle店がグランドオープニングパーティーを迎えた。
On September 23rd, arth held a grand opening party for its brad new store at Columbus Circle, NY.
I flew in a few days before to help set up shelfs, design displays and add lightings.  

The photo below is showing a newly added mirror ball and a red carpet in a night before the party.  

Our base color for the store is gray in order to tone down fixtures and furniture as if they were part of their own shadows.  

Exposed metal standards have been installed every 8 inches and create a pattern and functional supports. All of them are floated from the wall about 1/2 inches to throw their shadows on the wall. Shelves are clear acrylic panels to disappear. 

A large cabinet at the deepest part of the store holds high-end hats, and they draw people to the end of the space. 

The space tended to be hard and cold because of the materials we selected; concrete, zink, white marble and stainless steel; therefore, some furniture pieces with gentle curves were introduced to generate softness.  

We used cardboard boxes specially made for hat shipment at a display window, and added some rough and tough feels to attract male customers.

The party started at 6:00 P.M.. 
I made an aged film like movie showing each logo of the brands sold in this store, and  projected on the wall.

The space was quickly filled with people in fashion field and their friends.  

arthオーナーの栗原さん(左)と、工事担当のコントラクターKenset Corporation の山中さん(中央)。
The owner of arth, Mr. Kurihara (left) and a supervisor, Ms. Yamanaka from a contractor, Kenset Corporation (center).

I joined an after party drink with Mr. Kurihara and some of his friends at a jazz bar.

Well, as usual, I am not good at starting a conversation with strangers, so I stepped out of the party and was watching from a distance for a while.

The day of an opening party is like a day my child has grown up and is leaving the house. It makes me a little lonely in spice of the cheerfulness of the party. 

Every time I complete a project, I feel that details in design are important, but what is more important for me is that we have accomplished to light up one space for the people in the city. I appreciate the owner who gave me this opportunity for us to leave another footprint in NY, and at the same time, I want to say "thank you" to my staff, Erika, Natsuko and Kazuma, who worked hard on this project.  

arth Columbus Circle
1794 Broadway New York, NY 10019
T: 212.315.1092

arth Soho
75 W. Houston New York, NY 10012
T: 212.539.1431

Other locations:
Costa Mesa, California USA
Tokyo, Yokohama, Osaka JAPAN



New York Again - 再びニューヨーク

arth Broadway 店グランドオープニングに向けての最終デザインコーデイネーションの為、昨日の朝、眠い目を擦りながら朝6時の便でニューヨークへ。
I flew in to New York by 6:00 AM flight in yesterday morning. This time, I am here to coordinate the final design touches for their grand opening.  

お店の看板は、帽子専門店がまだ少ないこの街で存在を主張するため、arthと書く代わりに ”HAT” にした。
The business is currently in a soft opening stage and still requires some designing, so the inside photo to be uploaded in a later day. We decided to say "HAT" on the store sign instead of  "arth" in order to emphasize the content of the store in this city where not many hat stores are around.   

Now, below are the photos of the city.
Our client, Mr. Kurihara, and I had a chicken rice (?) for lunch.  

It was covered with sour cream, and was very tasty. 

I have not learned a formal way of taking photos, so my photos are simply depicting the way I saw and felt when I saw the object or sceneries. 

Things in my sight are always moving here in NY. i can easily spend a whole day by sitting on a bench and watching the things around me.
It made me feel strange and temporary when I thought that I will never see almost all of the people who passed by again.

At last, a view from a cafe I am in now. 



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