Hidden Treasures of the Forest
Seibu Group, a Japanese railway company, launched a competition to renovate the Hanno railway station close to Lake Miyazawa. Quite recently, the lakeside had become the home of a Moomin theme park, Metsä (Finnish for Forest), so they were looking for a partner to transform this transit hub into a unique site celebrating Nordic design with a touch of fantasy.
Their goal was ambitious: to make the station a special tourist attraction and a source of pride for locals. When visitors walk through the station, they should feel like they are flipping through the pages of a storybook, each space conveying different emotions.
The Kuudes concept, Hidden Treasures of the Forest, stems from the design philosophy of bringing together extraordinary combinations. By having various layers and dimensions in the design, everyone can have an individual, one-of-a-kind visitor experience. One might spot the minor details on the ceiling, whereas someone else may soak up the general feeling of the lively spaces. The design is full of intriguing surprises.
The forest and the nature play a crucial role in old folktales, both in Finland and in Japan. That’s why our design drew inspiration from the woods with a modern twist. The Kuudes proposal made it to the final stage of the competition, finishing 2nd.
Wonders in the steel jungle
The steel structures of the station are like sturdy trunks of trees against an ink blue winter night. These majestic branches create a stunning silhouette. When walking underneath the network of beams, an eagle-eyed traveller may discover precious gems, the inhabitants of the forest. Little golden statues of birds, flowers, fungus and other flora and fauna are sitting on the beams, looking down upon the swarm of commuters.
Now you see it, now you don’t
The Kuudes design calls for exploration. The wooden shingle wall in the express train platform presents contemporary shapes and materials piled in a traditional technique. Some of them can be opened if you know where to look for. Inside you might find a poem or hear a voice from the nature.
The stairways feature a large forest-themed relief with birch lamellae covering them. You get to see glimpses of fascinating details here and there when the lamellae are twisted in rhythmic forms, revealing what they hide behind them. Some of the details can only be seen when you are descending the stairs, some when you are going up. The seasonal forest illustrations are also made by the Kuudes design team.
Season of the berries
The flourishing wilderness
In the second-floor hall, you can imagine yourself standing at the bottom of the lake. Looking up, the ceiling is filled with the bustling life of the underwater community that’s normally hidden under the surface. The schools of fish are swarming elegantly among the underwater greenery and the colourful seaweed.
Like storybooks, the Kuudes concept for Hanno tickles your mind by changing the perspective and presenting the world from an entirely new angle.