Interiors Retail design

Nendo designs retail outlet for skincare brand in Tokyo using biodegradable and recycled materials

September 12, 2020

Nendo has designed the interior of Athletia, a new skincare brand launched by the cosmetic company e’quipe of RMK and SUQQU fame. The brief required three brand values — a balance between movement and stillness, inner beauty, and compassion for the environment — to be expressed in Athletia’s interior space.


The balance between movement and stillness was expressed in the design of display fixtures of various, layered materials held in delicate balance. Among such fixtures, some are split, and inner beauty is expressed in the use of brand colours or different material in the cross-section of their exposed insides.

Natural materials such as flaxseed oil, pine resin, and sawdust compose 94 to 98% of the flooring, and even if discarded as is, they will biodegrade and return to the earth. The base of the floor is partially derived from recycled polyvinyl chloride (PVC) from used agricultural plastic film. Recycled materials from ceramics factory waste make up 43% of the tiles used for counters and countertops. Some of the terrazzo feature crushed and reused glass from Athletia’s defective glass containers and glass fragments from the production process. Responsibility towards the environment is thus expressed even in the interior design materials.

Because the flagship store in Tokyo’s Omotesando is a characteristic building with shallow depth and wide-open glass siding, nine wood panels were made to partially block the otherwise unobstructed view of the entire store interior, thereby piquing curiosity. The panels are composed of white birch selectively removed in forest thinning operations, sliced to make the most of their uneven tree rings, and then individually applied by hand. Finally, as with the display fixtures, the panels were installed to graze each other in a curious mid-air balancing act. The intention here was to depict the three brand values again, this time as awareness of the interior, timber from thinning operations, and balance.


On the first floor are product displays, in-store testers, and a consultation area. Meanwhile, space on the second floor has been allocated for various events and workshops like yoga, pilates, and aromatherapy courses, with private rooms for different types of massage. The material on the underside of the staircase handrail changes along the way to the second floor, communicating to visitors by touch they will soon finish climbing to their destination.


In addition to using natural ingredients cultivated by sustainable growers, the brand takes sustainability into consideration by using natural plant essential oils for 90 to 100% of fragrances, using 90% or more recycled glass for glass containers, and making plastic containers with biopolyethylene, a raw material made of sugar cane.

See the full image gallery here:

Photos (interior): Masaya Yoshimura
Photos (furniture): Takao Nagase

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