The LV Store Informs on Japan’s Historical Past
The Louis Vuitton Maison Osaka Midosuji in Japan was recently opened and its imaginative façade of a billowing sail is the result of a close collaboration between architects Jun Aoki and Peter Marino, who both share a long-standing relationship with the French House.
This new four-floor store reflects Osaka’s heritage as Japan’s most important port and highlight’s the city’s growing role as an international travel hub. In cooperation with celebrated chef Yosuke Suga, Le Café V, the very first Louis Vuitton café, sits atop Louis Vuitton Maison Osaka Midosuji, guarding the secret entrance to Sugalabo V, Suga’s exclusive restaurant, also housed within the Maison.
Architect Jun Aoki is known for his work on a number of landmark Louis Vuitton stores in Japan and around the world, including New York’s Fifth Avenue Maison. Drawing on Osaka’s history as a sea-faring city, Aoki imagined light and airy white structure inspired by the traditional Higaki-Kaisen cargo ship and its billowing sails. The purity of the façade is reinforced by the use of metal fretwork motifs at ground level, giving the impression of a ship floating on water. The design of the façade also allows for the optimal use of natural light. By illuminating the different levels, the store breathes the city’s energy, while offering clients a sense of calm and respite.
A celebration of swirling, lucid colors announced the opening of the new Maison in Osaka’s famed Midosuji area. In collaboration with artist Kenta Kobayashi, who was a photographer on the House’s Fall-Winter 2019 Men’s advertising campaign, liquid crystal distortions were modeled into a bespoke sculpture that ribboned across the store’s windows. As a juxtaposition to the architecture of the Maison, itself a poetic homage to the minimalism of Japanese craftsmanship, the windows blurred the lines between digital fantasy and reality, a specialty of Cobayashi’s imagery that acknowledged Japan as a hub of technology.
Inside, architect Peter Marino has followed similar inspirations, connecting the store’s four floors to both the maritime feel of the building and to its connection with Japanese traditional culture. In spaces dedicated to a complete offering of the different universes and collections, wooden floors give the impression of decks, with wood-clad pillars and metal ceilings reminiscent of the spirit of a grand yacht embarking on an exciting adventure. Traditional Japanese materials such as woodwork and origami washi paper features throughout. The vast spaces are worked to create varying volumes, from spectacular halls to more intimate corners and lounges.
The ground floor is devoted to women’s accessories, while a mezzanine floor, dedicated to luggage and the Art of Travel, allows visitors to gain a bird’s eye view of the generous volumes of the main hall. Designed especially for the Maison’s opening, exclusive women’s products, such as a mink hoody, blue sapphire Tambour watch, and B Blossom necklace make welcomed appearances around the store, while a complete offering of women’s ready-to-wear and accessories by Nicolas Ghesquière, Louis Vuitton’s Artistic Director of Women’s Collections, occupies the third floor. The fourth floor is home to Louis Vuitton Men’s Artistic Director Virgil Abloh’s complete offering, where his exclusive designs from the Spring-Summer 2020 fashion show including a hoody and cargo pants, a Taurillon leather messenger bag and sunglasses rub shoulders with the permanent collection.
LV Objets Nomades
Throughout the Maison, Objets Nomades bring their colorful creativity. On permanent offer, they are placed to emphasize or contrast with the architecture, hanging down from the generous heights of the store’s floor. Launched in 2012, the Louis Vuitton Objets Nomades collection of designer travel and home-related objects keeps alive the House’s tradition of beautifully crafted travel-inspired pieces. Fourteen of the world’s most renowned designers, including Yoshioka Tokujin, Atelier Oi, and Nendo amongst others, have imagined 56 stunning Objets, which have then been made by Louis Vuitton. Sharing a sense of intuitiveness, desire, and pleasure, the Objets Nomades continue Louis Vuitton’s tradition of offering inspiring designs.