Murayama participated in a design completion for retro conversion of the Minowabashi Station, which was held by the Tokyo Metropolitan Bureau of Transportation in conjunction with a revitalization program of the Toden Arakawa Line. Using the experience from the retro conversion of the JR Ome Station, the company pulled together to work on this project.
Though the project involved one stop at Minowabashi, we decided to consider the entire route of the Toden Arakawa Line. Customers rode the train to go from one stop to another on the Toden Arakawa Line. Was there a way to allow customers to enjoy the retro feel on the entire line? We composed a story based on the entire Toden Arakawa Line and attached a theme to each stop, regardless of plans to retro-convert it, or not. Minowabashi Station is the final stop. It is the place where the story begins as everyone gathers. The theme of the retro conversion was, “The time when everyone was looking forward”. We proposed an image of a plentiful time of the 1950s.
As a result, we were able to procure the final order and undertook the entire project from planning, design, layout, design supervision, and construction at Murayama. We believe that our thinking process, achievements, and designs were recognized. The actual project scope ranged from plan document creation (concept work), design proposal, design and design supervision (including confirmation, explanatory meetings with local residents), construction and construction management (government inspection and correspondence), to completion.
The design motif “The time when everyone was looking forward”, centered around Toden Stations was a perfect fit for the social climate for the 1950s. While studying and recreating designs, materials and thoroughly analyzing graphics from the 1950s, we utilized modern technology and functionality (incombustibility, structure, universality, energy conservation, sustainability, etc.). We used techniques that can only be done at Murayama, in efforts to express elaborate aging and handwriting from the past, and likened the finished project to a theme park.
In the construction, considering the issues with the surrounding homes, it was necessary to use non-combustible trees that were troublesome and took time in construction, and while keeping a production schedule in mind, we were mindful of being consistent with aging accuracy. In the lighting, we used aged street lamps and reproduced the image of old gas lamps. We also made adjustments considering the color temperature as well as safety of the public transportation. In producing accessories, we prepared corporate signage from the 1950s to heighten the effect. Regarding graphics, we proposed an original guide map of the train line, reminiscent of a painting of the times. Our work was appreciated and used not only for the train station, but as the graphic on the transportation department calendar. At the Memory Plaza, two retro train cars were exhibited. One of the cars has been refurbished as an exhibition room where a “Memory-graphity Box”, and “Memory Diorama” presented an image of daily lives, scenery and electric cars from the 1950s. It became a popular attraction for children. The Plaza exhibition not only included the diorama (reduced model), but a video featuring the heyday of the Toden train system that allowed visitors to experience the excitement of the Toden, and provided additional guidance for those who were seeing the Toden for the first time.
Space exists in various ways in various people. In addition, this project involved the nature of public transportation. We did not aim only to successfully complete the project, but considered the client, user and neighboring residents, and wanted to construct a project that left a good feeling for all those that were involved or affected. It was not possible to stop the train schedule during the day, and construction mainly occurred in the middle of the night between the last train in the evening, and first train the following morning. Because the station is in the open, we were highly concerned with noise during these hours. Before construction began, we held briefing sessions with people of the neighborhood and answered any questions they had regarding the project.
Since there are procedures and inspections that require confirmation, and additionally, the project spanned both Arakawa ward and Toshima ward, we asked the client for cooperation in coordinating some aspects with each of the wards. We took the utmost care in considering safety during the construction of the project. While working within guidelines and making various adjustments, we kept the project as close to the original competition proposal as possible, and as a result, were able to please the client.
In addition to the opening of the Minowabashi Station, we also received a request for the “Hanadensha (Flower Train)” which would run to celebrate this project. Using modern 3D scanning technology, we were able to express in detail, the Hanadensha that existed in the 1950s. The nostalgic Hanadensha are very popular and the original schedule for its run was extended. In addition, at Kanezuka Station, original graphics in the theme of Kanezuka were presented in a newspaper-style and exhibited. It was a unique way to entertain people along with the posted train route guide.
This collaborative effort between the client and staff was recognized by the Japan Display Design Association at the “Display Design Award 2009” which makes decisions on the year’s domestic and international spatial environment design awards. We received the “Display Industry Honorary Mention Award”. We also received the BODW Asia Design Award’s Merit Award.