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Co-creating Community Values with TENNOZ Rim: The Role of People, Things, and Spaces in the Age of New Normal (Part 1 of 2)

Aug 27, 2020

Amid today's environment, the kind of space people want to spend time in is changing drastically. And as a result, it has become imperative to reexamine the values created through town building. Panasonic's "TENNOZ Rim" project, which aims to create new value with partner companies through area renovation, kicked off in 2019. The members of the project spoke about the next generation office space, activities undertaken with the community, and efforts to realize a circular economy known as the "Revalue Project."

Summary

  • In 2019, Panasonic launched its renovation project, "TENNOZ Rim," on one of its idle property.
  • The project located in the Tennozu area, a renowned waterfront in Tokyo, is co-operated by three firms, Mitsubishi Estate Residence, Warehouse TERRADA, and Panasonic.
  • The project goes beyond a simple building renovation; it aspires to ultimately become the hub of the community.
  • Learn more about the project from the commitment and dedication of the team.

Key concept: Enhance the value of the area

The Tennozu area located along the canals in Shinagawa, Tokyo is a renowned waterfront. Once filled with warehouses, the area was reborn as part of large-scale redevelopment projects undertaken in the 1990s to 2000s and is now lined with office buildings and tower mansions. It is also walking distance from a mammoth transportation hub, the Konan Exit of the Shinagawa Station, so Tennozu is situated in a favorable location.

Tennozu area, a well-known waterfront facing the canal.

In 1993, Panasonic opened a showroom near the Tennozu bridge, along Route 316 (formerly known as Kaigan-dori). When the showroom closed in 2002, the building was converted into offices for Panasonic employees, but it has remained idle since 2013. Thereafter, it was rented as storage to Warehouse TERRADA Co., Ltd., who had roots in the area. This property has now been transformed by the "TENNOZ Rim" project.

TENNOZ Rim

The two-story steel-framed building sits alongside the Tennozu Canal. Although the area is centrally located, it still has a relaxing ambience. Taking advantage of this favorable location, Panasonic forged a concept that went beyond simple renovation, that reawakens the area and serves as a guiding star for the revitalization of the entire Tennozu area.

Panasonic alone could not bring this plan to fruition, so it partnered with Warehouse TERRADA, with whom Panasonic already had a relationship with, and Mitsubishi Estate Residence Co., Ltd., who excelled in building renovations. This is how this three-party co-creation, renovation project began in 2018.

One of the largest rehearsal studios in Tokyo (Warehouse TERRADA), multi-purpose community space "KITEN" featuring a café and event space (Framelunch Inc.), and a communal lounge that people of the region can use freely are located on the ground floor of the facility which opened in June 2019. On the second floor, there is a co-working space "The ParkRex Tennoz [the DOCK]" (hereafter referred to as "the DOCK") (Mitsubishi Estate Residence), and the "Panasonic Office Research Tech [PORT]," a lab for creating a next-generation office.

The DOCK features a "Main Cabin" which promotes active communication and the "Canal Cabin," a central working space with a plethora of greenery. These different environments let people change gears as necessary and work productively. The two spaces are connected by a communal lounge, "Book Park," furnished with high quality reading materials selected by TSUTAYA.

Communal lounge, Book Park

The project was spearheaded by Panasonic's Business Solutions Division, CRE Project Promotion Department. This department has worked on the pioneering smart city, "Fujisawa Sustainable Smart Town (FSST)" and "Tsunashima Sustainable Smart Town (TSST)," as well as the "Suita Sustainable Smart Town (SSST)" in Suita City, Osaka. Hisaki Fukutomi of the CRE Project Promotion Department, who led the team, describes the TENNOZ Rim:

"TENNOZ Rim aims to enhance the value of the entire area by serving as a hub that brings the community together. We came up with this concept because we wanted to work with various partners and initiate a wide range of activities with people of the community. Our success with FSST and TSST has shown us the potential idle land has in being reborn.

"We worked hand-in-hand with partners with differing expertise. Warehouse TERRADA had been working on projects that revitalize the Tennoz area from before, so they were an essential ally. Mitsubishi Estate Residence has a wealth of know-how in renovating small-medium buildings in Tokyo and has provided invaluable input to the project. And Panasonic has been manufacturing consumer electronics for a long time and has excelled in serving consumers. The facility is equipped with Panasonic's latest technologies and has been well received by many visitors."

Hisaki Fukutomi
Project Manager
Business Development Team
CRE Project Promotion Department
Business Solutions Division
Panasonic Corporation

Let us take a closer look at the technologies. The 3D Photo Scanner installed in the common lounge on the first floor can create a 3D avatar in 0.01 seconds. Using motion capture, the avatar can also be moved in real time. Just the other day, a dozen or so visitors came to the facility to utilize the 3D content and were surprised by how fast the avatars could be created.

3D Photo Scanner

The ceiling on the second floor is embedded with 54 IoT sensors, which collect, analyze, and make visible the digital data in the office environment. Much effort has been made to manage the space using data to enable automatic control of the air conditioning, lighting, and visual content based on each user's preference and examination of the optimal office layout based on user traffic analysis.

What is particularly iconic is the co-working space, "COMORE BIZ." This space integrates the ample greenery of the biophilic design (spatial design that introduces nature into the built environment) with state-of-the-art technology to create an incredibly comfortable environment. It is also worth mentioning the spatial audio design technology brought to life by the full cooperation extended by the luxury audio brand, Technics. You can hardly tell where the speakers are, but the sound of birds chirping and streams murmuring makes users feel as though they are sitting in the middle of a forest. It is the perfect environment for relaxing and concentrating. It is truly a must-have experience.

Co-working space, COMORE BIZ

The room at the back of the Book Park is ideal for napping and waking up. The brightness and color of the LED lighting is automatically controlled depending on the time of day to create an optimal environment for a high quality 20-minute nap. Due to COVID-19, demand for this closed nap space has declined, however, many people are using the room as a private office for online meetings. Mr. Fukutomi saw this as an opportunity and tuned the lighting so that it would improve the appearance of people's complexion and appeal to this heightening demand for online meetings.

According to Mr. Fukutomi, "We learned that the target audience for this project lived in the Tennozu area. And Panasonic's cutting-edge technology has been attracting early adopters and early majority. Furthermore, in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, performers gathered in the Warehouse TERRADA's studio to take part in dress rehearsals for a major musical, and the staff have been working from the second-floor co-working space. The excellent sound insulation materials have made it possible for the staff to work despite the rehearsals held downstairs.

"Post COVID-19, in the age of new normal, the space can be used as a decentralized satellite office located near people's place of residence. As mentioned, the space is already being used for online meetings, and the reputation of the space is spreading by word of mouth. The event space on the first floor is also being used for online announcements and webinars."

Nap room equipped with state-of-the-art lighting control technology.

Mr. Fukutomi continues, "Although small in scale, TENNOZ Rim is packed full of features. This multi-purpose complex located near people's place of residence will demonstrate the potential of such facilities and become a model case for the future. The co-creation, renovation model is extremely effective as a way to quickly furnish society with the functions and technologies it requires to meet the challenges it faces. It is also our mission to communicate directly with users so that we can update how the space can be used from time to time."

From a more macro perspective, from the viewpoint of community reinvigoration, the TENNOZ Rim will become the hub of the area with the help of the Tennoz Canalside Vitalization Association. In this area, the "Tennoz Canal Fesival" is organized four times a year and most recently, Panasonic surprised and delighted the community by providing a mammoth projection mapping that was even bigger than movie theater screens.

"Myriads of people come to the Tennozu area. It is an attractive waterfront along the canal, but one of the challenges it had faced is that the site location also interrupted the flow of people. It would be ideal if we could position the TENNOZ Rim as the heart of the area that encourages the migration of people, as a hub that organically brings people together. This co-creation relationship has just begun, and we would like to invite other stakeholders from the area to utilize this area.

"There are some Panasonic employees that want to embark on a new challenge from TENNOZ Rim. Rather than thinking about the facility as Panasonic's property, we can involve many partners and people of the area to give shape to ideas, and this is what they find appealing. We also want to apply this co-creation renovation model to other idle land. This will enable us to bring to life priceless value not only for Panasonic, but for our partners and for the region," concluded Mr. Fukutomi.

- Reproduced from the website "Mirai-kotohajime," by courtesy of Nikkei Business Publications, Inc.

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