Rackets, rackets and more rackets. Of every size, weight and color. Strung and unstrung. Hanging, propped, shelved and displayed everywhere the eye can see. Up, down and all around. Literally. Upon entry, recognition is instant regarding what exactly WADA Sports' new headquarters and flagship store in Himeji, a city in the Kansai region of Japan, is showcasing. In fact,Matsuya Art Works/KTX archiLAB and lead architect, Tetsuya Matsumoto, have created a tennis-lover's dream store.
Completed in September 2017 and dubbed "The Racket Submarine" by the designers, the building was constructed in honor of WADA Sports’ 30th anniversary. And it is quite the unexpected celebration. Although the exterior is impressively large, with a roof canopy that extends far out beyond the white walls and an enormous glass window fronting the double-height building's front, the rectangular structure is quite minimal in design. That is, until one steps inside...
This is where the party begins. The 412 square meter interior is overtaken (in a good sense!) by a gigantic, elliptical metal structure in its very center, which has both an architectural as well as a stylistic role. On the one hand, it supports the entire building with its frame, and on the other hand, is the main design fixture utilized to show off those hundreds (or maybe thousands?) of aforementioned tennis rackets in WADA Sports' repertoire. Other than being very eye-catching, the display makes it easy for customers to pick up the rackets and test them out, to feel their weight and thickness in their hands and select the best one for them.
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