Century-old former head office in Osaka to open to public

Courtesy of Konoike Construction Co.
The former head office of Konoike Construction Co. in Konohana Ward, Osaka City, consists of a Western-style section, foreground, and a Japanese-style one.

Osaka-based Konoike Construction Co. will open its former head office, which was constructed in 1910, to the public for the first time as early as April, in tandem with the anticipated designation of the unique structure as a tangible cultural property by the central government this spring.

The building, located in Osaka’s Konohana Ward, connects a Western-style and a Japanese-style section, both of them two-story wooden structures. The Western section was built in an art nouveau style that was popular at the time, and remains virtually unchanged from its heyday.

The second floor of the Western section features a fireplace and period furniture, decorated in art nouveau style with curved patterns of flowers and plants. The Japanese section is based on Osaka’s traditional machiya town house style, featuring plastered walls with latticed windows.

Courtesy of Konoike Construction Co.
A fireplace and period furniture are seen on the second floor of the Western section.

The building was planned by company founder Chujiro Konoike (1852-1945) as a combined residence-office, and designed by famed architect Kosaburo Kubota (1868-1934). It went unused for a long time following the relocation of Konoike’s head office in 1968, remaining accessible only for tours by researchers and others.

“It is invaluable that such an authentic art nouveau design has remained almost unchanged for over 100 years,” said Hiroshi Adachi, professor emeritus at Kobe University, who inspected the building at the request of the company.