Assemble worked with microbrewery Rise&Win to expand their brewing facilities in a former sawmill in a mountainous region of Shikoku island, Japan.
Situated in Kamikatsu, population 2,000 people, the town gained national attention in 2003 following their adoption of a policy setting out to achieve the ambitious target of producing Zero Waste by 2020. This followed a change in national legislation that forced closure of the two waste incinerators that previously served the town.
Assemble developed an overall strategic plan for the organisation of the brewing facilities, and delivered a new tasting room for sampling beer. Analogous to the tea ceremony and tea house, the space offers a contemplative environment for the tasting of Rise&Win’s product which is made on site.
Sitting amongst the existing collection of large and robust utile industrial sheds, the new building takes the form of a tall tower: a strong form in the landscape acting as a bold sign for the building, visible from the long approach down the valley, and offering a powerful spatial experience with views out over the mountains.
Early on in the process, an extensive research trip to the local and surrounding area – visiting many local crafts people and material producers – led to the development of a unique material palette for the project. Cedarwood cladding from the immediate surrounding forests was stained using a traditional indigo dying process, and fixtures and fittings were produced in collaboration with local ceramicists with a technique called Obvara, using yeast left over from the brewing process to form a unique glaze.