100BANCH is after a bunch of big ideas for the future – 100 of them, to shape the next 100 years, to be precise.
Situated in Shibuya, the heart of Tokyo, the innovative work platform and hub is the brainchild of Panasonic Corporation, Loftwork and Cafe Company. Launched as part of the Panasonic’s centennial celebrations in 2018, 100BANCH is committed to supporting the leaders of the future. Having already witnessed a century’s worth of innovations, from the revolutionization of household appliances to the rise of consumer electronics, Panasonic wants to see ideas that will engender impact for the next 100 years.
The creative work site is a far-cry from the basement workshops for many projects just beginning – including the very basement in which Panasonic was founded, where a 23 year-old Konosuke Matsushita peddled sockets and plugs. Providing a functional working space, as well as vital mentorship and industry support, 100BANCH helps young project teams materialize their ideas, regardless of size or industry.
100BANCH is a three-floor site consisting of a concept kitchen by Cafe Company on the ground floor; workspace ‘Garage’ on the second; and ‘Loft’, Panasonic’s innovation lab, on the third.
Managed by Loftwork, the ‘Garage’ program is an incubator/co-working space specifically for talents under 35, working on innovative projects in various fields. There are no restrictions on industry – the program has included everything from loincloths to resort services – as long as projects are bound by a desire to better the future.
Qualified teams are not only given unlimited access to the physical working space itself, but also mentoring support from industry leaders, as well as media exposure and industry connections. Mentors include Cafe Company CEO Shujiro Kusumoto and Loftwork’s very own, co-founder Chiaki Hayashi.
Once a month, doors to ‘Garage program’ open to the public, not only showcasing the progress made by the in-house programs, but also to inform prospective applicants on the inner workings of 100BANCH, as well as the program itself.
Smashing barriers and creating inclusive spaces, these are the 100BANCH projects hoping to engender positive change in the world:
An inclusive future with a typeset that can be read by both the sighted and blind- "Braille Neue"
Current public infrastructure privileges the sighted, lacking the adequate signage for those who are not. Hoping to revolutionize public space and create a more inclusive future, Braille Neue is a typeset that combines braille with existing characters. It provides a viable way to communicate to both sighted and blind people, in the same space and in equal measures. Braille Neue corresponds to both latin alphabets and Japanese fonts, whereas past attempts have only focused on the former. Braille Neue hopes to break the existing barrier between the two groups – sighted and blind – and propel inclusive type as the new standard.
A collaborative workshop that seeks to innovate communication- "Language of the Future"
Garage embraces collaboration between project teams. Braille Neue, along with three other Garage teams working on language-oriented projects, came together for the workshop, ‘Language of the Future’. With the aim of helping those with difficulty in seeing, hearing, or understanding, workshops participants were asked to cover their eyes, ears or mouths, and tasked with communicating with the people around them. Participants were then put into pairs, taking on partners of different barriers and challenged to find ways to communicate under those conditions. This was not only effective in creating empathy but also new communication possibilities and ideas.
An aquaponics system in the big city- "Now Aquaponics"
Since Garage is open to projects big and small – even in the physical sense – Now Aquaponics went so far as installing a giant water tank and living ecosystem in the space itself. Aquaponics is a system that combines aquaculture and hydroponics. In their attempt to integrate the farming practice into an urban environment, setting up shop in Garage allowed Now Aquaponics to not only showcase a functional, sustainable system but analyze how such a system might affect others in the space.
A new lighting experience for the future- "RGB Light"
With a desire to create a new lighting experience for the future, RGB Light separates white light into the primary colors of light – R, G, and B. As an experimental project on lighting innovation, RGB is not just pure aesthetics, but also a functional tool for various things, including plants. It has also proven commercial popularity: the company is in the negotiation stages for products to be manufactured.
With the goal of housing a collective of creatives, 100BANCH takes its name from the word ‘Bunch’ – as in, a bunch of people. With that in mind, the logo of 100BANCH uses tilted lines stacked up on top of one another to represent the crossing and formation of various individuals, to make a bunch. It envisions people working together over the next 100 years, a process that starts in Shibuya and continues to spread throughout the world.
The interior exterior design of 100BANCH’s second and third floors was helmed by Jo Nagasaka (Schemata Architects), most known for his work on various Blue Bottle cafes. Understanding that 100BANCH is about nurturing future talents and ideas, but that good ideas stay good, Nagasaka and Schemata haven’t just taken an “out with the old and in with the new” approach. In both functional use of space and design, as well as a clever nod to Panasonic founder and manufacturing icon Konosuke Matsushita, they fitted the low, two-meter ceiling of the Garage floor with lighting that doubles as a power supply socket. It utilizes the “duplex lamp socket” – one of Matsushita’s first-ever design concepts – and can be easily attached or detached. Work stations, then, can be organized and adjusted according to the users’ needs, making the space at once functional and flexible.
This attitude also extends to the ‘Loft’ floor of 100BANCH, a multipurpose space where both presentations and workshops are held. Here, lightweight sponge tables that double as whiteboards when flipped fill the space, as well as other easily movable, utilitarian furniture pieces.
In an ever-changing world, it’s hard to predict what might happen next – not just in 100 years, but also in one. The space, then, is a reflection of this attitude: flexible, inclusive, and can be ‘updated’ accordingly.
The annual celebration for 100BANCH, Nananana Festival is a future ideas extravaganza, featuring a dizzying array of exhibitions, workshops, performances and other creative programs. As the first-ever edition, last year’s festival thrilled 100BANCH members, guests, as well as the public with 8 days of thought-provoking events on ‘The Next 100 Years’. See what the future holds at 2019’s edition, a 9-day affair from July 6 to July 14.
See Nananana Festival 2021 Official Website (Japanese Only)
Loftwork Inc. is a global creative company, which designs programs, spaces, services, communication and websites through collaborations. We are located in Hong kong, Taiwan, Tokyo and Kyoto . We also operate owned media and platforms. Digital craft cafe “FabCafe” , and material design lab “MTRL” , the online platform “AWRD”, and an open community bio lab “BioClub“. Loftwork is dedicated in building a global community of innovators. Through the design process, we create good impact to society.