IDPA Japan Design Award

International Design Pioneer Award
International Design Pioneer Award

Peaceful Absence

by Polly Design Studio

Project Description

This store specializes in sake and is located in Tainan, Taiwan. Besides selling sake, it also serves dishes made with specialty sake. The store has used the Japanese wabi-sabi aesthetic as its central theme to blend the retail products and dining environment with the simple image of the ancient capital. The façade design features light gray color, clean lines, and unique texture, which not only break away from the constraints of the commercial space but also convey the spirit of “quietness and emptiness” like sake, mesmerizing the senses.
Every sake that's available for purchase in the store has been brewed and aged over the years, capturing the essence of time like the murmur of the earth. The designers have creatively utilized artistic coatings and imagery to design a unique texture for the space, transforming it into an art gallery and deviating from the traditional commercial environment. This allows customers to relish a new consumer experience and a sake-tasting atmosphere. As a result, customers can find their own peaceful space to unwind and soothe their body and mind.
The storefront, front porch, and retail area of the store are designed based on Japanese wabi-sabi aesthetics. They reflect the natural, pure, and simple beauty of the old world. The store has preserved the original ceiling panels and the brown color of the artful paint swirls in the space. The sake displayed on the shelves is like a piece of art. It not only highlights the texture and value of sake but also leads customers into a feast of modern and vintage wines. As a result, the space is not just a sake store but also an art gallery.
This project features warm lighting, dark colors, lines, and original building materials to create a misty image of a vintage wine city. By integrating the dining environment and the retail area in the same space, the scale of the space is not limited.
The designers blended modern innovative design with rustic texture while preserving the existing lapis lazuli stone tables in the original house. They re-cut and polished the stone to create an end wall for the washbasin, adding a unique story to the details of the space.
To ensure exceptional service quality and a pleasant customer experience, the venue designers have arranged the layout and dining line accordingly. The entrance lighting is inward-focused to prevent direct light from interfering with the diners' experience. Additionally, a free-standing washstand has been added in the aisle to avoid long waiting times for the restroom and to divert traffic flow. The side bar is equipped with movable tables that can be used for private rooms and larger groups, providing a more diverse service. To prevent the porch from being damaged after business hours, the designer has planned a hidden double-opening door on the wall to conceal the entrance. 
In addition, a special repair door for large-sized refrigerators has been added to ensure quick repairs in case of any malfunctions, and to maintain the freshness and safety of the stored food. 
The folding door design of the compartment can be adjusted to meet the business needs. During peak hours or when the venue is packed, the folding door can be retracted to expand the customer's activity area. The designers opted for a simple wabi-sabi style to create a retro atmosphere in Tainan, which is known for its humanities and historical old houses. They then combined it with a modern minimalist design to create a gallery-like space. By doing so, they were able to blend the commercial space into the local environment and offer a new dining and wine-tasting experience to the local residents. This approach also helped to attract visitors, which helped address the social deficit problem in the area.
This project aims to transform the noisy atmosphere of traditional izakaya and liquor stores in Taiwan into a serene and unique wine-tasting place that exudes the simple ambiance of Japanese wabi-sabi. This innovative concept not only offers customers a new dining experience but also promotes fire safety by using fire-resistant high-pressure laminate as the primary building material. The design is not only influenced by art but also by humanistic values, making it a perfect blend of aesthetics and practicality.

Polly Design Studio

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