The new Herzog & De Meuron-designed Miu Miu Aoyama flagship store has just opened in Tokyo.
The site is home to so many luxury brands, Miyuki Street in Aoyama Tokyo. The architecture is heterogeneous – a hodgepodge of freestanding buildings of different heights and shapes. Never meant to be a space of its own, the street is a purely technical and functional link between Omotesando and the Aoyama Reien cemetery farther down the road. Over the past decade, the distinctive building has become a much-frequented location, to us as architects to take this into account in planning the Miu Miu store located in the immediate vicinity on the opposite side of the street. They used the following thoughts to channel our ideas: more like a home than a department store, more hidden than open, more understated than extravagant, more opaque than transparent.
The typological model that best suited these considerations and specifications was a box placed directly at the level of the street, its cover slightly open to mark the entrance and allow pedestrians to look inside. Only then do they realize that the building is a shop. Here, under the oversized canopy, the two-story interior is visible at a single glance, as if the volume had been sliced open with a big knife, turning the inside out. The rounded, soft edges of the copper surfaces inside meet with the razor-sharp steel corners on the outside of the metal box, while the cave-like niches clad in brocade face the central space of the shop like loges in a theatre. The shop on two tall stories not only presents enticing goods on tables and in display cases; it is also like a spacious and comfortable home with inviting sofas and armchairs. The façade has neither logo nor pomp; it is a polished, mirror-smooth surface, as if one single giant brushstroke had swept smooth the ordinarily matte surface of the steel paneled façade. Instead of affording a view inside, as in a shop window, the gaze is inverted; instead of the anticipated see-through window, viewers encounter self-reflection. The building itself is a gesture that extends an invitation to come inside and stay a while.
To commemorate the new opening, the brand did a reprise of the Miu Miu Fall 2015 collection to which Herzog & De Meuron also designed the runway space.