Architect Jun Aoki and interior designer Peter Marino have collaborated on some very enterprising visions for Louis Vuitton over the past decade, including the luxury retailer’s Matsuya Ginza building and the Maison Osaka Midosuji, which was unveiled last year and houses the brand’s first luxury café in the world, Le Café V. With the 2021 reopening of Louis Vuitton’s Ginza Namiki flagship location, “the new store is reimagined as an aesthetic dialogue between [the] virtuoso [pair of Aoki and Marino], inspiring wonder both outside and within.”
The Maison Osaka Midosuji thematically borrows from Japan’s nautical history, and the Ginza Namiki extends this concept further into an aquatic one. Four decades after Louis Vuitton’s initial occupancy of the seven-story structure, this revamp/relaunch is in conjunction with the label’s two-month exhibition “Louis Vuitton &,” which highlights past collaborations between the iconic brand and artists like Rei Kawakubo and Takashi Murakami.
“Proper engagement is not just about store openings — that’s a commercial activity. But what we have to be involved with goes way beyond commercial, it’s cultural,” LV’s Chairman and CEO Michael Burke shared in a January 2021 interview with WWD. “…We think that architecture and luxury work hand in hand, and our clients expect us to make an architectural statement today when we open in a location as iconic as Ginza.”
In order to simulate the shimmering effect of water on the horizon, Aoki used external curved glass panels layered with dichroic film to create a 3-D reflective and rippling effect to the eye. And inside the building, Marino put his flair to work with the construction of a central staircase made of oak and bordered by glass. Aoki’s external façade allows light to pass through and produce an engaging visual interplay with Marino’s staircase. There is also a four-story wall that displays a reinterpretation of Kimiko Fujimura’s 1977 painting Wave Blue Line.
With hints of LV’s history in Japan displayed everywhere and the brand’s high-end wares all around, a walkthrough of the new store finishes on the seventh floor in LV’s second Le Café V, where Chef Yosuke Suga delights visitors once again with savory entrees and rich chocolate desserts.