Last Updated: May 6, 2011

Los Angeles, CA, USA

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First Eco-Retailing Center is the 12th Jerde-designed Project in Japan

LOS ANGELES (April 26, 2011) - The Konoha Mall, designed by The Jerde Partnership, a Los Angeles-based architecture and design firm, has opened in Hashimoto, Japan, attracting nearly 100,000 people on the opening weekend and creating a new community gathering place for the district. It is the firm's 12th project in Japan within the last 15 years. Inspired by the natural surroundings and cultural influence of Hashimoto, the Konoha Mall is an innovative eco-retail destination that embraces nature and sustainability into all elements. Its 84,000 square meters (approximately 900,000 square feet) of retail leisure space contains 120 specialty shops and restaurants, including a large community grocery market anchor and premier food court. The new Jerde Place is expected to draw six million visitors each year with annual sales of approximately 13 billion yen ($150 million USD).

The developer of the Konoha Mall is Fukuoka Jisho, one of Japan's most highly regarded developers and long-time partner of The Jerde Partnership. Other collaborations by Fukuoka Jisho and Jerde include the world-renowned mixed-use Canal City Hakata in Fukuoka, Marinoa City Pier Walk in Fukuoka, Park Place in Oita, and RiverWalk in Kitakyushu, which received a merit award for design from the American Institute of Architects. Fukuoka Jisho commissioned Jerde to design the Konoha Mall in early 2009 to continue their successful collaboration with another landmark development that will deliver memorable experiences for the people of Japan.

"Konoha's opening is very significant to us since its inspiration is the leaf, a symbol of life, that particularly resonates at this time," said Eduardo Lopez, Jerde partner and design principal of the project. "During our first visit to the area we walked to a nearby shrine and found beautiful trees for shade with leaves floating up all around us, creating a soothing visceral feeling. The leaf became a major inspiration for the project as prominently displayed by the iconic leaf-shaped trellises lining the upper levels. The entire project is a symbol of communal interaction and reflects the co-existence of people and nature. It really establishes a new type of retail center where ecology and sustainability are the driving forces behind the experience."

Konoha Mall introduces sustainable building strategies, such as the leaf trellises that are not only art works but house solar panels to harvest energy for the entire center. The project's layouts and forms provide natural ventilation and it was built with local and regional materials. The nearby river park provided the inspiration for the circulation into and through the project. The river and motion of water is referenced through the contouring elevation of the front façade, while its undulating design creates a landmark that can be seen from the elevated city ring road of Fukuoka. The open-air garden walk, the center's main community square, contains lush landscaping that creates an organic outdoor environment with spaces for exploring, resting and enjoying entertainment. Multi-level walkways and bridges across levels offer views of the activity below and the grand public spaces for events and performances.

The interior of Konoha is organized around three major courts that represent various seasons, with the large summer court as the central plaza where community events and attractions are held, and the autumn and spring courts serving as anchors on opposite ends of the center. Each court is distinct yet complements the overall composition and natural experience. During cooler months, the indoor summer court serves as the community events plaza and is designed as a festive area with a large skylight to brighten the space, complemented with a pattern of green, teak and soft white on each level that spirals up towards the sky.

"From the colors, textures and spatial quality of the exteriors and interiors, the entire project is rooted in natural elements and offers a distinct experience for shopping, dining, exploring, reflecting and wandering," said Lopez.

"Working in Japan for nearly two decades allows us to understand the culture and focus on the needs and desires of its people. However, for a retail project to be truly successful the design must acknowledge, accommodate and encourage the activity of shopping and incorporate social and leisure elements," said Richard Poulos, AIA, Jerde partner and executive vice president. "The goal for Konoha is to create a desirable destination that people will see as their community hub and return to time and again, while carefully fitting into its surroundings as an authentic place of the region."

Konoha Mall establishes careful connections through its circulation, colors, materials and public spaces to ensure it delivers on the expectations of the local residents and visitors and the local government's mandate that the center be highly visible from the main ring road of Fukuoka. As part of its co-creative and cohesive approach to design, Jerde also created the conceptual landscape, lighting and signage. Fukuoka Jisho's in-house urban design group (FJUD) served as the executive architect.

"The collaboration and quality achieved during this process was essential to creating this remarkable new destination which is a model for eco-retailing," concluded Lopez. "We collaborated with Fukuoka Jisho very closely to make sure Konoha reflects the natural character of the area and enduring spirit of Japan."

The opening of Konoha Mall extends Jerde's desire to deliver community places in Japan, and the firm's legacy of creating new models of retail that provide social, cultural and economic value to their cities. Since its first project in Japan, Canal City Hakata which at the time it opened in 1996 was the largest private development in the country, Jerde has continued to revolutionize retail by integrating a full mix of uses, connecting to mass transit hubs, and establishing parks and other open spaces. The firm's other award-winning projects in Japan include: Roppongi Hills (Tokyo, 2003), Namba Parks (Osaka, 2003 & 2007), RiverWalk Kitakyushu (Kitakyushu, 2003), Caretta Shiodome at Dentsu HQ (Tokyo, 2002), and La Cittadella (Kawasaki, 2003).

About The Jerde Partnership
The Jerde Partnership is a visionary architecture and urban design firm that creates unique places that deliver memorable experiences and attract nearly 1 billion people annually. Founded in 1977, the firm has pioneered "placemaking" throughout the world with projects that provide lasting social, cultural and economic value and promote further investment and revitalization. Based in a design studio in Los Angeles with project offices in Shanghai, Hong Kong, Seoul, and Berlin, Jerde takes a signature, co-creative approach to design and collaborates with private developers, city officials, specialty designers and local executive architects to realize the vision of each project. The firm has received critical acclaim from the American Institute of Architects, Progressive Architecture, American Planning Association, and The Chicago Athenaeum Museum of Architecture and Design. To date, over 100 Jerde Places have opened in diverse cities, including Atlanta, Budapest, Hong Kong, Istanbul, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Osaka, Rotterdam, Seoul, Shanghai, Tokyo and Warsaw.

Last updated: 12-Dec-2012 03:22 AM
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