The Miura Peninsula is the southernmost point of the Kanagawa Prefecture in Japan. The whole area is characterised by a spread of rural and small communities mainly dedicated to fishing and agricultural activities. Like the rest of the country, the population started to heavily decrease between the 90s and the 2000s, with the expectation of becoming completely abandoned already in this century.
Project Name: Miyagawa Bagel
Studio Name: ROOVICE
This negative trend encouraged the locals to think about possible solutions to attract people to move there to help and sustain the community.
Unfortunately, no action can immediately solve the situation, but only long-term projects and interventions do. Hence, Roovice decided to renovate one of the many vacant fishing gear warehouses in Miyagawa (a village in Miura City with a population of 1300) into a bagel shop: this wanted to create a more lively neighbourhood that will attract new visitors in time.
Miyagawa Bagel is placed in a rural valley overlooking a small bay where you can be immersed in nature about one and half hours from both Tokyo and Yokohama: an old salt pan is nearby, and the sound of waves mixes with the birds’ songs for a relaxing stay. The idea for a bagel shop came from the intention of promoting local ingredients carefully farmed in the surroundings, trying to combine a beautiful scenery with its own products.
For the exterior walls, corrugated polycarbonate panels replaced the original metal ones: this leaves the impression of a typical Japanese warehouse, but with a connection from the inside to the outside thanks to the transparency of the material. This research of a dialog between vintage and contemporary continued on the inside of the shop, with the counter being covered in white 10×10 cm tiles. That gives a sense of a new beginning, while remembering the modern times of the country when these particular tiles were widely in use.
The structure hasn’t been touched with the renovation, but it has been entirely exposed to increase the sense of nostalgia towards the old building.
As aforementioned, the aim of the project was to promote the local products of Miyagawa. This is done by letting the surroundings enter the building, and at the same time becoming a reference point for the public spaces around. This can be experienced at night, when the shop glows like a lantern in the street thanks to its polycarbonate facade, thus embodying the role of the gathering spot.
Throughout the design process, Roovice expected to see the inflow of people from the big cities to significantly increase during the weekends and holidays in general. Beside revitalising the countryside, this was supposed to show the locals how much potential is left in their “unfavourable” land that can be benefited by a simple gesture.