Come Sail Away With Louis Vuitton The building is a sight to see as you sail past it on the street in downtown Osaka, Japan. The newest flagship store from French fashion house Louis Vuitton resembles a ship passing in the night. If the design…
Come Sail Away With Louis Vuitton
The building is a sight to see as you sail past it on the street in downtown Osaka, Japan. The newest flagship store from French fashion house Louis Vuitton resembles a ship passing in the night. If the design of the billowing sails of the exterior causes you to picture something that reminds you of the traditional Higaki-Kaisen cargo ships of days gone by that once sailed in the region, then you would be seeing what the designer had intended.
Designed by Jun Aoki, the light and airy white structure was meant to resemble billowing sails of those old cargo ships. The façade is held in place with metal fretwork motifs at ground level. The visual is quite striking and from the right angle, the building looks much like a ship floating on water.
Aoki has had a hand in the design of several landmark Louis Vuitton stores around the globe including some in Japan. He designed the New York Fifth Avenue location and has been responsible for other creative work including a store shaped in such a way that it appears to be a cascading waterfall.
But the new Osaka store is not just shipshape on the outside. Once you enter the building you get the sense that the nautical theme took hold. Credit for the interior design goes to Peter Marino (cool surname) of New York. He has also been involved in the designing of other Louis Vuitton properties including a complete renovation of the London store on New Bond Street.
The interior of the “Billowing Sails” store has wooden floors which make you instantly think of the deck of a cargo ship. The pillars are clad in wood to complete the visual and are complimented with metal ceilings. To add to the feel of the “ship’s” interior, there are pieces throughout that use traditional Japanese materials. They include various pieces of woodwork and origami washi paper.
Then there is the artwork.
A total of twenty contemporary pieces fill other spaces within the building. Artists include Kimiko Fujimura, Vik Muniz, Polly Apfelbaum and Nicola de Maria. Abstract artists Ida Tursic and Wilfried Mille contribute their unique view of the world as a counterpoint to everything else flowing forward and aft from port to starboard.
As if the ship-like façade wasn’t enough, this particular store will feature the first-ever Louis Vuitton café and restaurant. They are located on the top floor where a cocktail bar with a terrace affords you the best view of Osaka in the neighbourhood. An adjoining bar has a unique cocoon room.
Even the kitchen in the restaurant matches the nautical theme. The open design makes for smooth operation in the food prep department but the materials and details throughout all hint back to the “billowing sails” concept.
As a homage to local history, this new Louis Vuitton store in Osaka hits all the right notes. As for the success of the actual business end of the store is concerned, we may have to wait until it sets sail.
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