2003 designed by Herzok & de Meuron
A visit to Prada Boutique Aoyama
photograph by mirutake March 2,2003
photograph by aibo2 July 28,2003
photograph by mirutake Oct.19,2003
When I first went to Prada Boutique Aoyama, it was under construction in temporary enclosure. Although I could only have a glimpse of the exterior then, I remember being much impressed. Oh, there was still this kind of special figure possible. Isn,t it so fun ?
The exterior appearance was certainly visible attracting attention among neighboring buildings like no such figure seen before. Not only the large diamond shaped glass, but the convex and concave surfaces were producing special reflections. It was even strange ,unique, and a project out of scale like the crocodile skin bag of special large size. In this aspect it matches the image of brand shop such as Prada.
Contrary to the designers' adherence to material touch in their former projects, the glass was smooth and slippery. The artistic direction seem to have changed .
And so, let,s appreciate this attractive project standing out among neighboring buildings to the full extent.
I felt quite at ease to enter the shop. It was so quiet inside unlike the special exterior appearance. Which material covers this structure of homogeneous diamond grid ? The material touch was granular and it felt like stucco. The interior wall is made of the same material. And furthermore , the shelves were also made of the same material, which were undivided as part of wall and continued in the same curve line. No doubt that it is a complicated making.
On the halfway space between the floors, we come across a changing room and a waiting area.
A cosmic atmosphere has been produced. We are apt to compare whatever we see inside with the exterior, but the inside space is unexpectedly plain and abstract. It seems so free, opened and casual compared to the conventional image of the brand shop .
It is not ordinary that the building is set far inside the site leaving much space for the plaza. Since I was observing this site from the stage of temporary enclosure, my expectation for the plaza was great and the result was a little disappointing. Such plain materials were used for the pavement. It,s hard to understand to see some area of the floor is in soil( Later on, I heard that living moss was planted originally but was kicked away.). And it was surprising enough to see that the surrounding fence ,a part of which was at the same time, a storehouse was covered with the living moss. It was just about fixed and not fully mossy yet.
My wife,s remark was that the surrounding fence in living moss reminded her of a stone wall of Japanese castles. Certainly, there are "mossed" stone walls in various places in Japan. So, why and how the designers selected this moss( hope that it will be rooted all right) is interesting, since they have been paying a great attention to the material touch of the surface.