Iconic architectures like the Louvre, the Big Ben, the Empire State Building and Sydney Opera House are immediately recognizable because, they are, well, famous. If they weren’t, we won’t have a clue of what they do or sell. So, what do an organization do, if its building is not a famous architecture and the company still feel the need to announced what they are doing? Easy. Branding AKA signboards, but for some Japanese companies, a neon-lit logo slapped on a building is never enough; the building itself has to look the part, or at least points to what the company is all about.
For example, having a building that has a silhouette of a dog because, pet food. Such is what Japanese pet food company DoggyMan did. The company’s warehouse and distribution center in Osaka actually sports the silhouette of a dachshund. And we are not even kidding. It is a real deal and there are images as prove too. Also, let me assure you that those images are not photoshopped or messed with in anyway. Talk about branding, this is perhaps the most effective close-range branding ever, but it can be a rather costly one too and that’s not to mention odd-shaped buildings can result in some redundant space due to, you know, odd shape.
Notwithstanding the probable high cost and space redundancy, DoggyMan isn’t alone in this in Japan. There are a few other shining examples, including Kirin Beer Factory’s tanks which have been painted to mimic a tall glass beer (probably a cheaper option than giving a Kirin beer can graphics), and a bar and eatery establishment called Taru Tonneau (Taru is Japanese for barrel) which is hold up in a giant-ass liquor barrel, complete with a definitely non-functional dispensing tap.
Those buildings are intriguing indeed, but perhaps the most impressive, in our humble opinion, is the six-decade old Meiji Chocolate Factory in Osaka. When refurbished in 2011, the company’s first factory was given a facade that resembles an enormous chocolate bar that stretches 166 meters (545 feet) long and stands 28 meters (92 feet) tall. With a facade like this, Meiji sure has little trouble letting passing folks know what they do for a living.
According to our source, the Bank of Japan is kind of in this show-what-you-sell architecture too. Granted that BOJ does not technically sell anything, and on top of that, the shape and the facade of the neo-baroque style building does not resemble anything. However, it is said when viewed from the top, the main building has the shaped like the kanji for Yen.
Personally, I would attribute that as a personal imagination by Google Earth-using modern folks because, that building was over 120 years old and so, how the hell that designer of the building, Tatsuno Kingo, knew to create a shape resemblance that would require a satellite, or at least a flying contraption, to see? And the world’s first documented flight that lasted for seconds didn’t happen until 1903 and the first artificial satellite to orbit Earth, the Sputnik 1, wasn’t launched until 1957.
So, yeah, personal imagination is what I see it, but then again, who am I to say it is? After all, a genius like Tatsuno Kingo may already had foretold this then-preposterous idea?
Images and source via Spoon Tamago.