photos by Nacása&Partners Inc | click to enlarge

There’s been a flurry of activity this year to redefine the retail experience in the face of online hegemony. Klein-Dytham Architects took a crack at it with their highly acclaimed Daikanyama T-site. Then there was Yoyogi Village. Now, the popular menswear brand Takeo Kikuchi takes on the challenge with their new flagship store in Shibuya (Gmap).

“Today we can easily buy clothes online, and we already have enough knowledge and experiences and know-how to judge good products from bad ones in our economically maturing society. What is the role a flagship store then?” – Jo Nagasaka, architect

The role, Nagasaka goes on, is to offer what online shopping can’t: a 2-way retail experience where customers can relax, be comfortable and absorb the essence of the brand. The new store, which opened just last week, made its home in a glass-clad building that previously housed several athletic gear brands. And upon looking over the plans, the first thing the architects decided to do was to let the building breath. Reconfiguring what is a traditionally an enclosed space with artificial heating and cooling throughout the year, operable wood frame windows were installed throughout the space for natural ventilation.

Benches along the facade, a garden, and cafe on the third floor – all seamlessly integrated – help to create a more laid back environment. One major deviation from a traditional shop is the elimination of cash registers, the thought being that the check-out counter is often far too dominant.

I love these outdoor benches/planters that were cast in large nylon bags using concrete!

source: press release