Nominee

Accenture Innovation Center Fukushima

Designed by: Gensler and Associates / International, Ltd.
For client: Accenture Japan Ltd Floor area: 950.00 M² Year of completion: 2019
Submitted for:

About the Project

After being struck by an earthquake and a tsunami in 2011, many people would not see much hope for the future. It was exactly what Accenture took as a challenge when they cooperated with Aizu Wakamatsu City in the Fukushima prefecture, Japan. It was one of the cities most damaged by the Tohoku disaster. The damage accelerated the shift of population to the cities, while the community was aging. The city is now called one of disappearing towns. Accenture Innovation Center Fukushima (AIF) represents a promise to the people of Wakamatsu. The project provided Accenture an opportunity to test support models for future infrastructure and knowledge decentralization outside of the density of Tokyo by introducing the Smart City technology to the community of Aizu Wakamatsu. Since 2011, Accenture has been leading the conversation with the Government, Citizens, Academia, and Industry of Aizu Wakamatsu to reactivate and illuminate their future again. AIF represents the strong will of Accenture to become part of the smart city and to create various opportunities in the long-term because many other firms only came by for business trips.

What’s unique about it

The design firm identified four themes that suit Accenture’s role in the city. Ignite to give birth to ideas, Flare to scale it up, Envision to share it to the public, and Quest to test & demonstrate it in the field. The themes are combined with the design solutions to embrace the history and future of Aizu Wakamatsu. The lacquered reception desk is designed in the Japanese style of Kintsugi. The technique uses gold leaf to bind together ceramicware, reflecting the Japanese belief that objects with stories have a higher value. Similarly, it symbolizes the imperfect beginning of Aizu Wakamatsu transition from a castle town to a smart city. Irori, a traditional Japanese hearth, created in collaboration with a local artist, greets staff and visitors upon their arrival and is where the conversations, collaboration, and ideation begins. A traditional Tatami seating and a custom-designed ping-pong table support an atmosphere of casual inclusiveness. A graphic depicting Mt. Bandai reinforces the connection AIF has to the community outside. Each piece of the graphic was created in partnership with a local pottery firm, the children of Aizu Wakamatsu, Accenture, and The design firm. The graphic reflects the collaborative effort needed to transform the city embedded in the past to one integrated with the future.

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