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The luxury group last week opened a six-story, 28,000-square-foot flagship here that has a facade covered in hundreds of glass panels in a diamond-shaped grid. The store is located in Tokyo’s fashionable Aoyama shopping district and offers a new landmark in this sprawling city.
Prada terms the building another one of its “Epicenter” stores, the first of which opened in SoHo in New York in 2001. That store was designed by renowned architect Rem Koolhaas, while the Tokyo store was designed by Herzog & de Meuron of Switzerland, whose other commissions include the Tate Modern gallery in London.
The all-glass Tokyo store represents the company’s latest approach to the fashion and retail market, said Miuccia Prada in an exclusive interview, noting that it will provide a place to experiment with new ideas and products and for “interaction” between the store and its customers.
The new store is expected to have sales of $20.8 million or more in its first year, according to Prada executives. Patrizio Bertelli, Prada’s chief executive officer, said in an interview that the new building cost his company “approximately 10 billion yen,” or $83.3 million, including the land. This amount, Bertelli noted, represents the single largest post-World War II investment in Japan from Italy.
The Prada Aoyama store is the first building by Herzog & de Meuron in which “the structure, space and facade form a single unit,” the Basel-based architectural firm said, noting that every single visible part of the building is structure, space and facade all at the same time.
At night the building glows with green light, with merchandise and visitors on every floor visible from the outside through the rhomb-shaped glasses. Meanwhile, shoppers are able to look out the store’s windows at views across the city.
The new store features “projections” and “snorkels.” Specially developed projectors using eight different lenses and mathematical calculations show images on interior walls which, seen from the outside, give the visual impression that the wall is melting.
Each “snorkel” has a screen server and, at the touch of the screen, a viewer can obtain information on anything from Prada’s merchandise to the season’s materials and colors. Then there are “sound shower” sections where visitors can sit and become surrounded by soothing sounds of comfort created by certain wavelengths