Hirobo Live Factory

Gallery and Factory Design for Hirobo Corporation (2007)

Fuchu, a city of manufacturing
Fuchu city, Hiroshima prefecture is located 90 km from Hiroshima city and 18 km from Fukuyama city. The city was designated in 1963 as the Bingo Special Industrial Development Area, and has developed as a major manufacturing base of furniture, machinery, metal and textile factories in the industrial belt along the Inland Sea. At present, manufacturers such as Fuchu Furniture, Ryobi, Kitagawa Ironworks, and Hirobo are supporting the city’s self-reliance.
In order to activate the local economy together with local industries, the Fuchu Chamber of Commerce and Industry began in 2006 to develop a brand of Fuchu furniture under the Japan Brand Development Support Scheme. Taking advantage of the presence of manufacturing industries, the Chamber of Commerce and Industry is promoting “industrial tourism” by organizing “open factory” events to allow visitors to observe or experience the actual manufacturing processes.

Hirobo Live Factory, a model studio opened to the public
Hirobo, one of the major corporations in Fuchu city, opened its new factory the Hirobo Live Factory on May 8, 2006 as a base of “industrial tourism,” and as a base to further enhance its brand. Design Soken Hiroshima was involved in the whole process of the project from landscaping, construction, exhibit planning and design which took 2 years from conception to completion.
The main product of Hirobo is a radio-controlled helicopter, and a helicopter for aerial crop dusting, for which they have the world’s number one share. Currently, Hirobo is developing a robotic helicopter instaled with a self-controlling computer
  The Hirobo Live Factory is located on a hill overlooking the city center of Fuchu. It consists of three portions, a factory manufacturing radio controlled helicopters, a gallery + a restaurant serving genuine French cuisine, and an open square where children can fly model planes. Business visitors and Industrial tourists can observe the assembly factory and the model planes and radio helicopters exhibited in the gallery. In the Collaboration Hall within the factory, events are held regularly, including workshops for family visitors to create light
It was constructed as a development base for both Hirobo and Fuchu city. Considering that the company’s products try to help us realize our dreams of flying in the air, and the location on the hill, the landscape design concept of the Hirobo Live Factory was a sequential structure in which the sky, light, city center and products are connected.
In the glass-covered corridor that seems to be extending downward to the city and upward to the sky is the Sky Boy Gallery displaying model planes and radio-controlled helicopters. This gallery symbolizes the Hirobo Live Factory connecting the sky, light, city center and products. Other than this, the assembly plant, and the gallery + restaurant are placed as live points in the sequential structure.
The Hirobo Live Factory was designed to be open to the public, and is equipped with facilities to provide visitors with valuable experiences and time to enjoy the art of making things.

Urban development by the private sector
A city grows by the government developing its infrastructure such as roads, districts, parks, etc., and the private sector making use of said infrastructure. The operation bases and commercial facilities developed by the private sector can be used for creative activities without being restricted in terms of “services for public benefits,” and they can make greater contributions to the activation of the local economic and social life. For local city development, industries play essential roles. For redeveloping a city, it is important to restructure the existing local industries and to involve them in local management.
The Hirobo Live Factory’s initial activity was to revitalize Fuchu city. A key point for success was how to design places with high “experiential value.” It is important for corporations to participate in local management with an aim of building a city with high “experiential value” to establish their respective operation bases so that a profit circulation system within a locality can be re-established.

Hisanori Mishima, Director, Design Soken Hiroshima

Honor of excellent award for 6th Hiroshima Cultural Architecture by Hiroshima architect office association