SILVER birch trees casting dark shadows on a white, snowy background. That’s the artistic inspiration for patterns on the road, footpaths and driveways as part of the master-planned facelift of Hirafu’s main street – a development that is sure to further Niseko’s growth as an international ski resort.
Scheduled for construction in 2011, the master plan for Hirafu-Zaka Street is influenced by Niseko’s world-famous snow and native Shirakaba trees.
Besides the groundwork, other aspects of the revamp will also be influenced by Niseko’s environmental and cultural setting.
Riccardo Tossani Architecture has been commissioned to design the project, and Tossani said the master plan would transform Hirafu-Zaka from a road to a place to which people would flock.
“The banding of dark paving against a light background across the street and sidewalk and into driveways, patios and public squares will create a sense of open space more akin to a village piazza than just a traffic thoroughfare,” Tossani said, describing the unique design as ‘zebra-like stripes in the snow’.
“It will be a space for people and social gatherings, rather than just cars, and will also mean the village is kinder to pedestrians and visitors.”
Tossani said the design referred to Niseko’s ‘great natural beauty’, and would include contemporary additions of banner poles, street furniture and a logo design.
The project also consists of underground power lines, road and sidewalk heating, and landscaping. Custom-designed street furniture will be placed throughout the street, including light poles, directional signs, benches, kiosks and bus shelters.
The implementation of the Hirafu master plan is expected to be completed by the winter of 2011.