Renovation of an Old Pen Shop 老筆店新創生


The owner of an old supply shop opened since 1951, expects the renovation of the flagship store to carry the educational purpose of the cultural heritage in addition to selling their ballpoint and fountain pens. We transfigure the brand name S.K.B.—smooth, knowing, and beauty— into spatial vocabulary. Using local elements in Taiwan, such as decorative window mullion, glass block, exposed aggregate finish, to recompose and apply them as signs of memory at the intersection of new and old spaces.


Coupled with the value of writing culture, the minimalist Taiwanese manner integrates the display areas with austere materials of white, grey and light brown colors stretching all the way to ceilings and floors. The central area is thus articulated: the antique pen making machine, historic fountain pens, years of ballpoint pens are displayed in the shopwindow, central display area, and historical display area. The products become accessible to the visitors and easy to acquire in an aura of cultural context.


Using the counter of diverse material collage as the center, the hexagonal rail lighting on the ceiling suggests the divisions of the exhibition shelves along the axis. The platform type and wall-mounted shelves area allocated according to their appropriate proportions and scales. The linearity extends into the zeitgeist of wood, iron, and glass. The lightness of the shelves expresses both antiquarian and modernist austerity.


The renovation of the storefront is a space straddling on the passage of time. Most of the areas in the building retain their original scale. The slight alteration to interior walls articulates the division between openness and privacy. The exterior and the arcade have been restored and the circulation and doorframe typology improved. Large glass panel and clean desktops bring in the view of the local street into the inside with no sense of boundary, as if time always propels life and civilization without its trace. Revivalism, in this light, is not old fashion but a precious medium that transcends space and time.