Tōrō Ishi Ku

Tokyo, Japan, 2010

This flagship location marks the first freestanding building designed for Marc Jacobs. The 2,800-square-foot, three-story building is located off Omotesando Street in Tokyo's famous Aoyama shopping district. It houses two main sales floors as well as a smaller sales area and storage room below grade.

The design responds to strict local codes and the surrounding context, bordered by world-renowned architecture and a quiet residential neighborhood. Zoning requirements limited the occupiable building height to two above-grade floors, demanding a comparably shorter building height within the immediate site context. However, a common building element known in Japanese as a kosakubutsu, used to conceal rooftop building equipment, was employed -- doubling the height of the building and visually compensates for the reduced occupiable height.

The facade is divided into three zones: a minimalist open ground floor, a dark and heavy middle floor, and lastly a custom perforated paneled beacon. The ground floor employs a glass enclosure, an open floor plan and high ceilings, creating an open space that appears to freely flow onto the street. This openness is exaggerated by the dark and heavy mass of the second floor, clad in blade-shaped porcelain tile, specifically developed for this project. The third level, the kosakubutsu is rendered as an enormous 'lantern' created from perforated aluminum panels with a custom designed pattern and LED illuminated tensile fabric. Through these shifts in materiality, the building facade is treated as a striated texture highlighting the public to private transition from the first and second levels, while showcasing the functionality of the kosakubutsu.

Status: Built