Moving towards a beautiful unity between the city streets to the surrounding nature.
One of Sapporo's most fascinating attributes is the change in scenery from season to season. Many visitors are surprised by the completely different look of the city during visits at different times of the year. To help analyze the landscape's seasons, scientifically special guidelines have been developed called the "The 70 Colors of Sapporo Scenery."
Although "The 70 Colors of Sapporo Scenery" were decided 12 years ago they are still not very well known within Sapporo. However the harmony between a city and its surrounding nature, especially a city with as many buildings as Sapporo, is important to monitor. Since June of 2000 the "Natural Color Guidelines for Large-Scale Building" were decided and released. Any building that was built, went under construction, or had an addition after this date, was encouraged to use these guidelines to help them select their colors. However, while unifying the colors of the city with the surrounding nature is important, circulating and enforcing the guidelines has proven difficult.
When the project began the city of Sapporo entrusted Professor Hiromi Miyauchi, from the design departement at Sapporo University, to choose the 70 colors and decide usage guidelines to create the best possible harmony between the buildings and scenery of Sapporo. Of course, this doesn't mean that Professor Miyauchi chose just any colors. Over the course of one year records were taken of the natural colors found in each of Sapporo's 12 districts, the analysis of these results were combined with surveys taken throughout Sapporo to help decide the final selection. After the process was complete the 70 colors you can see here were chosen as the most suitable, and beautiful, colors to represent Sapporo City.
In addition to being uniquely chosen to represent Sapporo, each color has been given a special name and comes with it's own "color story" attached. For example, one of the white tints is named "Milky Snow" after its milky or pearly appearance, or the "Beer-cha" which really does look like the color of beer. Some of the colors are named after places, such as "Histujigaoka", but each name used is sure to stick in the minds and hearts of those who hear them.
▲Color Guide for "The 70 Colors of Sapporo Scenery."
"The 70 Colors of Sapporo Scenery" has one more unique feature to offer those interested; a 3D color-guide is available! This peculiar guide is available through the Sapporo Image Coordinate Study. I was able to speak with managing director of Ito Paint Studio, Mr. Masahiko Ito.
▲Mr. Masahiko Ito, Managing Director of the Ito Paint Studio.
Even before the colors were chosen, Mr. Ito has been interested in nurturing the relationship between Sapporo's buildings and the surrounding colors. I talked to him about the meaning and importance of the color guide created by Professor Miyauchi. "Colors look different depending on the condition of light present. The perception of a color's brightness, the size of the area, even the material it's used on will change throughout a day. We took this in to account when we made the color guide, and included colors that we've tested on site and found to manage these changes exceptionally well."
▲"The 70 Colors of Sapporo Scenery"
Each of the color blocks was crafted individually by hand. They are soft to the touch and made from what seems to be a wooden building material. I found myself taken by their interesting appeal and wanted to steal some to make a building of my own! (I didn't of course!)
For my last question, I asked about any ideas for future development Mr. Ito might have. "Well, the price for building material varies quite a bit from material to material, but changing colors certainly doesn't drive the price up very much. I guess I'm hoping that the people of Sapporo get behind this idea so we can help create a truly unique and beautiful city together. After that, in maybe 30, 50, even 100 years, perhaps the next generation will help bring this idea to the rest of Japan, maybe even throughout the world. It would be great to build cities that look beautiful and compliment their surroundings as well."
With these changes in place I wouldn't be surprised to see the streets of Sapporo themselves acting as a tourist attraction. Who knows, we may not be far from that future!
To inquire about the color guide, please contact the numbers below!
㈱伊藤塗工部 (Ito Painting Studio)
Location : 3-8 Kita 10-jyo Higashi 12-chome, Higashi-ku, Sapporo
Toll-Free (in Japan) : 0120-31-0294
TEL : 011-731-0294
FAX : 011-731-0297
(Hokkaido Likers Writer - Miyashita)