By Leah Linhares
Photography: Nacasa & Partners; courtesy IDS
Spreading love and care since its inception in 1950, popular Japanese baby clothing brand 'Familiar' takes its services a notch higher by opening a preschool under the same brand name in Tokyo!
Designed by Igarashi Design Studio, the maternal warmth of the company is seen through the stroller parking enclosed in vertical natural wood panels that is built to enhance the exterior, while contrasting with the cool and neutral appearance of the building clad in curtain walls.
The four story building - basement to third floor – is embraced by simple yet pleasing interiors consisting of white walls and cork flooring. The classrooms are colour-theme based, each signifying a different purpose and also covertly, a thought.
Classroom walls plastered in light blue are designated for one-year-olds, epitomising kindness, freshness and cleanliness. Rooms with orange walls serve 2 to 3-year-olds; communicating brightness, passion and spontaneity; whilst purple walls are for 4 to 5 year-olds; suggesting a slightly mature set of minds - art, consideration and inspiration.
Another purpose borne by the walls are the circular openings in them. These apertures function as communication tools, allowing the children to sneak a peak into the adjoining rooms as well as the kitchen. Adding to the list of their multi-use, the walls are equipped with a magnetised surface that allows children’s drawings to be posted on the wall!
Adapting to the educational philosophy “Reggio Emilia approach”, a spacious atelier room is provided on the third floor. Sporting Familiar’s signature brand colour blue and dark coloured wood base, the atelier room provides a calm atmosphere that fosters creativity amongst young minds. Resting in one corner of the room is a stump-shaped object equipped with bookshelves. The rooftop is enclosed by the wooden fence cut in the shape of mountain ridges whereas the inside is hallow; this play space allows the children to experience the expanse of the sky and nature in the city centre.
Keeping the design true to the company’s concept - “the devotion of a mother to her children”, Igarashi Design Studio has managed to pull off a school that is in every sense child-friendly – not excluding the wash basins and their complementing rotund mirrors for the youngsters. Energetic lighting keeps the young ones at their at-preschool chirpy best!