Omotesando; way to the temple Omotesando is the name of one of the most important shopping streets of Tokyo; also it is emerging as one of the most interesting street for lovers of architecture and fashion. Long time ago Japan has been showing that they are large consumers of luxury, so known fashion brands have decided to build in Tokyo, its temples. Odes to consumerism dressed in the designs of the more avant-garde architects. If we take a brief look at the traditions and structure of Japan’s society, it is easy for us getting an idea, of the needs that luxury items are covering. Young Japanese are educated in the order and strictness since childhood. And until the university period, these requirements do not fall, so this is the period of their lives more independent, taking the opportunity to live outside the parental home and developing more artistic concerns. Upon graduation, they become part of the working class. The companies do not care that these new graduates have or not high specific knowledge , since they themselves are responsible for further training. And this is how the Japanese are once again immersed in a rigid structure, where there is not much room for differentiation and creativity.
Many Japanese girls go crazy for branded handbags, and for being the coolest kid in acquiring the latest model. Since nobody wants to give up high-class items in Japan are secondhand boutiques dedicated to branded products, that give satisfaction to the less affluent consumers. From students to working women, form a large and growing group of enthusiastic buyers of luxury brands. Against this background, that point to a constant growth in consumption of high-end brands, it is obvious that companies decide to install, in Japan, their shops and offices more representative. The company buildings are part of the image the company wants to project. So companies are looking to have emblematic buildings that convey clear messages about themselves. Each of these spaces is studied in every way, to strengthen their distinction and reflect the main values of the brand. Dior, Tod’s and Louis Vuitton are among the brands that have chosen in Tokyo, the Omotesando district as the location of one of its stores, more prominent.
Some look for cover this differentiation need with luxury items and everything “vintage” objects that come from the West.
Louis Vuitton trusted Jun Aoki to design their boutique, opened in 2002. The facade is simulating different sizes chests stacked, evoking LV roots as a manufacturer of suitcases and
fig01. louis vuitton O. store
fig02 ChristianDior Om. store
fig03. Tod’s Omotesando store
fig04. prada Omotesando store
trunks. Tradition and modernity that LV has combined very well. Proof of this is the ongoing collaboration with the japanese artist Takashi Murakami, which has revolutionized the monogram and in this case has been entrusted with the interior decoration of the shop, giving a touch very colorful and closer to the Japanese style. Nearby we find Tod’s Omotesando Building, an avant-garde project, in concept and in technique, opened in 2004. In the seven floors of this building coexists the store with offices, event spaces and a rooftop garden. The plants division is reflected by the transparent structure and not by the delineation of the facade. Which has been designed following the pattern generated by the superposition of nine trees, and it was built in concrete and glass. Toyo Ito, architect, compared the changing nature of the building, from bottom to top, with the shape of the tree from base to crown. Following our tour of Omotesando, we find Dior, which presents a building designed by SANAA, in which apart of the shop there is space for conference rooms and gardens. In this case the amount of plants is not apparent from the outside, which enhances the impression of ambiguity that generates the building.
fig05. burberry Omotesando store
This deliberately fickle and enigmatic aesthetic, is consistent with the work of one of the most colorful and dynamic designers of the moment, John Galiano. Another of the buildings that catch our attention is the Prada store, designed by Swiss architects Jacques Herzog and Pierre de Meuron, in 2003, appears in the middle of the compact area, as a sculptural element. Prada’s shape, with its green glass, like a emerald, looks a building carved rather than built. It is an irregular volume, its six stories have been worked so that the volume does not seem as high. The diamond-shaped formed by metal tubes filled with glass panels concave, convex and flat, some transparent and translucent, give texture and variety to the surface. Burberry it joins this trend, in late 2009, reopened his shop, 550 square meters, with an innovative and avant-garde look. The Omotesando boutique is the most luxurious expression of the firm in Japan, houses collections of online Burberry Prorsum both male and female, as well as the collection of accessories. The floor is made of trench” reflects the cated to Outerwear. to the icons of the space.
dark wood while the “color wall in the online area dediBritish materials and a nod firm are key players in the
fig06. Dōjunkai Aoyama Apartments
fig07. OMONTESANDO HILLS
But of all, the project most controversial has been Omotesando Hill, set mixed of 130 shops and 38 homes. Tadao Ando started the design in 1996, in 2003 construction began that would end in 2006.
Outside attempts to integrate respect for the environment and some will always simplify this building to the name of mall, very sophisticated and some cultures, but after all a mall.
This caused controversy was by replacing a building in Bauhaus style, the Dōjunkai Aoyama Apartments, one of the richest urban areas and historically significant in Tokyo. A social housing complex built in 1927 after Kanto earthquake and survived the Second World War. The Ando proposed living with zelkova Grove, a Japanese species of leafy crown, located in front of the building, so in the design has controlled the height to not exceed the height of the trees. The facade of the building behaves like a giant electronic posting, of 250 meters, consisting of a series of LED displays that change continuously.
The architecture of these boutiques is determined by those values which are communicated from the brands, such as transparency, efficiency, sustainability, modernity. The creativity of each of these buildings helps to achieve the implementation of those values and differentiation with other companies. In Omotesando these coexist with identical messages transmitted by the Japanese society, through its new shopping centers. At the end of the walkway is clear that Omotesando Street is one of the world’s most interesting for lovers of architecture and luxury shops. In addition lives up to its ancestral name “way to the temple, this time to the temples of consumerism.
To exploit the enormous cost of land, without unduly disrupting the street beauty, Ando chose to build many underground levels, where he located the shops and some space for cultural development. The houses are in the higher volume, because the idea is to isolate as much as possible of the frenetic world that there are under them, trying to keep this homes in a world apart, despite being in the commercial heart of the city.
fig08. OMONTESANDO HILLS project
The pictures belong to http://moleskinearquitectonico.blogspot.com