"To understand Nara is to trace back the memories of stones,” artist EAT&ART TARO says about the ancient Japanese capital that’s filled with preserved temples and kamiishi shrines made from rock. Each stone used in these man-made creations, TARO explains, “carries the histories, memories, and values that are found in Nara.” Working with the medium of food, the artist created pastries that resemble local stones for The Stone Confectionary Shop, situated in a former tea house. As its name suggests, the shop enables customers to exchange stones filled with their own memories for treats.
For the interior, TARO collaborated closely with architect Yagyug Douguten and his team who converted a traditional teahouse located on the historic pathway towards the Kasuga Taisha shrine into a space that could support an intricate visual display. Nearly 90 wooden disks, supported by a kukumi framework, create a balanced yet mazelike structure where guests can sit and enjoy their sweets while catching a glimpse of other customers’ special rocks on display. “We hope that people will find history and value in something as familiar as a stone on the side of the road, and find hope in it,” design team member Fumitaka Suzuki sums up.