*Photo of building exterior and facade Envi-lope01 (Photo by Nikken Sekkei)

We are pleased to announce that SEO Inc. (Headquartered in Takaoka City, Toyama Prefecture; CEO: Ryosuke Seo) has co-developed a new type of facade (product name: Envi-lope01) with Nikken Sekkei Ltd., (Headquartered in Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo; CEO: Atsushi Omatsu) after three years of collaboration. The unique facade enhances the environmental performance of buildings, and is now installed on a new 9-story building called Jimbocho SFI, located in Kanda Jimbocho, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo.


This is a new type of facade designed for installation on both existing and new small to medium-sized buildings, which are the majority of buildings located in metropolitan areas, with the goal of achieving the environmental performance required by modern society while significantly reducing carbon dioxide emissions during manufacturing.


About Facade

Facade is a French expression that refers to the design of the front part of a building, while the word is also used to refer to the exterior of a building. In recent years, highly original designs that differentiate the exterior design of buildings and enhance environmental performance have also been introduced.


Unique Features of Envi-lope01

 *Envi-lope01 photographed from the inside (photo by Nikken Sekkei)


This facade can manipulate sunlight control, ventilation, and transparency by cutting the bottom of a pot-shaped cylindrical component, 180 mm in diameter, fabricated by a process called "Shibori" (or drawing method) in three different shapes and placing each cylinder in the suitable location. Each cylinder is connected to the building by two wires, and each row of successively connected cylinders is attached to the building one row at a time to form a surface and a facade.


Main feature of this new form is that the properties of wire make it easy to freely create three-dimensional surfaces, making it possible to create not only straight surfaces but also curved surfaces as shown in the photo on page 1. 

Also, because it is composed of deep cylinders, which block angled and oblique lines of sight, while ensuring line-of-sight and ventilation in the frontal direction, and direct sunlight received from different directions is also blocked by selecting cylinders for shielding (ensuring a 70% apparent aperture ratio), thereby preventing temperature rise in the building itself, and thus enhancing environmental performance. (The sunlight load on the building is reduced by 65%.) Furthermore, compared to aluminum louvers generally used for facades, the amount of carbon dioxide emissions during manufacturing has been greatly reduced by reducing the amount of steel material. 

*Aperture ratio and shielding ratio are for Jimbocho SFI.





About Rain Chains

SEO Inc. has a long history of making "Rain Chains" and the Envi-lope01 was developed by applying the craftsmanship acquired while mastering Rain Chain manufacturing.


Rain Chains are a type of vertical downspout that directs rainwater toward the ground from a horizontally attached downspout mounted just below the roof. Rain Chains are made up of a number of rings or petal-shaped pieces, which are connected together to form a chain. Vertical downspouts are usually pipe-shaped and used to channel rainwater directly to the ground without showing it, while Rain Chains are a unique building material that originated in Japan where people visually enjoy seeing rainwater led from the roof to a horizontal downspout and drained as it travels down the chain.


SEO Inc., has improved its technology for "connecting" products to buildings through Rain Chains. This craftsmanship and expertise were applied to a building completed in 2015, the Co-op Kyosai Plaza in front of Tokyo's Kitasando Station, which used a total of 720 5-meter Rain Chains on one side of the building.


This building has a high design quality featuring our original Rain Chain product line named "Toh" as its facade.


The Great East Japan Earthquake and ensuing power shortages led to a major trend in the building industry at the time to design buildings with low environmental impact, and so the purpose of wall plantings was preventing direct sunlight from entering the building and to use the vaporization heat of plants to reduce the energy used for air conditioning in the summer, when a lot of electricity is required.


Co-Op Kyosai Plaza

*Picture of Co-Op Kyosai Plaza

From the experience of manufacturing the rain chains used on this building, we were convinced that we could expand the market for facades by creating products with unprecedented design and high functionality, and, since 2019, we have been in collaboration with Nikken Sekkei for co-development of parts. We will continue to develop new facades that serve to enhance the environmental performance of buildings by maximizing the "connecting" technology we have accumulated over the years.