Six Brands Put Up "Noren" Along Ginza Main Street


Ginza Stories

GINZA SIX Exclusive Retail Designs Share Center Stage

When its doors open, GINZA SIX will be home to about 240 brands from around the world, including over 100 flagships, brands coming to Japan or Ginza for the first time, and new retail concepts making their Japan debut. Six of these brands will have entrances and unique facades along Ginza's main shopping thoroughfare, Chuo-dori: DIOR, VALENTINO, CÉLINE, FENDI, SAINT LAURENT, and VAN CLEEF & ARPELS. The idea for brand-specific facades originated from GINZA SIX's architect Yoshio Taniguchi, who looked to the tradition of Japanese stores hanging up noren, entrance curtains decorated with low-key motifs (usually the store's logo or crest).
Luxury brands have a worldwide presence, and each of their retail locations have a clearly defined store concept that is reflected in everything from the architecture and the interior space to the extravagant materials used therein, and even down to the original furniture. But there are more pieces to the puzzle: each new store must have something bold and new to say about contemporary luxury, and embrace a sense of place and local identity in their approach. In that sense, the noren-inspired designs of the facades at GINZA SIX are a tribute to the noren-lined historical townscape of Ginza—and what lies behind them is sure to delight and impress.

Valentino - Ginza
designed by David Chipefield

For DIOR(B1-4F), the architect Yoshio Taniguchi conceived a unique facade evoking a tonal interaction of a dress, structured by four large windows at street level. Inside, Peter Marino, the U.S.-based architect of DIOR boutiques around the world as well as other brands, has created a contemporary atmosphere dominated by white tones, in which modern furniture integrates seamlessly. As the visitors enter, they are greeted by the House's seven-meter high atrium. Adding to the gallery-like feel, the walls in the shoes section on the second floor are decorated with the artwork of Swedish-born Tarick Kiswanson, who is currently being hailed as the next big thing in Paris's contemporary art scene.

Next is VALENTINO (B1-4F), where creative director Pierpaolo Piccioli has teamed up with world-famous British architect David Chipperfield to boldly put forth an innovative store concept. The facade is made up of metal mesh from top to bottom, creating a contrast between the gentle rays of sunlight that enter through the windows facing Chuo-dori during the day, and the glow from inside the store that illuminates the street at night—while maintaining a private shopping experience all throughout. The minimal design of the black metal front doors complements the metal mesh, both of which are beautifully in tune with Taniguchi's architecture. Inside is a palazzo-themed retail space furnished and decorated with things both new and old to create a one-of-a-kind atmosphere, an intriguing alternative to the brand's traditional space design. All of the brand's iconic elements have been gathered here, but much more than a collection of nostalgia, this is a space that demonstrates that there is plenty of room for heritage to coexist with forward-thinking ideas.

CÉLINE (1F-2F) unveils a facade with a truly noren-inspired design, a statement on sense of locality and time made up of pieces of ceramic made from Japanese clay. Each and every piece of ceramic has been crafted by master potters in a long-cultivated and passed-down tradition of artisanal handicraft, creating the perfect introduction to the detailing of the interior, which incorporates mostly natural materials like clay and stones to impart an earthy warmth to the environment. Here, again, the arrangement of ceramic pieces gives rise to a contrast between light flowing in during the day, and the radiance given forth at night. This is a delicate, sensitive display that takes a different approach from purely decorative designs to create a singular expression of the CÉLINE universe. FENDI (B1-3F) has put up a facade inspired by the historic Palazzo della Civiltà Italiana in Rome, which currently houses the brand's headquarters. It is both a projection of Rome through the eyes of the brand's aesthetic, as well as a collaboration across cultures: the row of arches are geometric yet elegant, and embody a sentimental connection to Japan's tradition of noren.
Then we turn to SAINT LAURENT (1F-3F), which has created a space that evokes classic Art Deco design with lavish, decorative use of black and white marble. The showcases and display shelves are made using a material with a mirror finish and are positioned in a minimal space that allows the brand's vision to take center stage. At VAN CLEEF & ARPELS (B1-2F), the facade goes from soft jet black to gold and shimmers in the sunlight. The interiors feature Art Deco detailing, from the handrails on the stairs to the walls and even inside the elevator, bringing the impressively chic space in harmony with GINZA SIX's overall aesthetic.

One last note on product offerings—these six boutiques will be among each brand's largest retail locations in Japan, and each will carry the brand's full range of products. This includes, but is not limited to, the following: DIOR will present its Dior MAISON collection of select lifestyle items and homeware for the first time in Asia, while at VAN CLEEF & ARPELS, the entire second floor will be a dedicated bridal salon, a Japan first. VALENTINO will offer exclusive pieces from its Paris Runway Collection.

Text by Yuka Okada / Photograph by Toshiharu Kitajima