Text description provided by the architects. The new Tokyo flagship building for Marc Jacobs Collection was designed by Jaklitsch/Gardner Architects and located on Omotesando-dori in the Aoyama shopping district. The building is the first ground-up store for the Marc Jacobs brand and will give Marc Jacobs a distinctive presence in this neighborhood of luxury stores. The design is a response to the immediate context, which is bordered by world-renowned architecture and a quiet residential neighborhood, and the desire to represent the tradition of craft that is inherent in Japanese construction.
The three-story building is approximately 2,800 square feet, including two main sales floors and a lower-level space with a small sales area and storage. Because zoning requirements limited the occupiable building height to two above-grade floors, the architects employed a common building element known as a kosakubutsu to double the visual height of the building. The kosakubutsu sits above the building’s official “shadow line” – a distinct and continuous break required between the occupiable building and additional structure.
The building façade is conceptually striated into three horizontal zones; a void, rock and lantern. The ground floor “void” houses accessories and is completely transparent and visually open to the street. Women’s ready-to-wear is housed in the more private “rock” – a solid form clad in striated terra-cotta – and the “lantern,” or kosakubutsu, serves as a beacon and sign for the building. The lower level houses men’s ready-to-wear and accessories.
Jaklitsch/Gardner Architects strategy for the interiors of the building was to simultaneously extend the design notes that run consistently throughout most of the Marc Jacobs stores internationally, while making them special to their Aoyama context. At the ground level, the goal was to have no visual interruption between the street and store’s interior. A continuous water-glass façade blurs the distinction between inside and out. The Zimbabwe granite that covers the entire first floor extends out to street, forming the sidewalk in front of the building. The black-and-white color palette on the first floor relates to the building’s “rock and lantern” exterior. Top-lit, white Corian shelving lines two of the three walls, and mirrored glass at the top and bottom of the shelves provide a visual draw from the street. A circular glass and polished steel cash wrap houses accessories behind glass with a white gradient that lends a misty, ethereal quality. On the far wall, floor-to-ceiling polished steel and glass vitrines house two aquariums and border the stairway, which is made of dark East Indian laurel wood.
The second level is more consistent with design features of other Marc Jacobs Collection stores, and has a distinctly intimate feel. Sycamore shelving and custom seating by Christian Liaigre lend to the living room quality, while custom pendant lighting fixtures of hand-blown black and clear glass, and mirrored dressing room doors add light to the space. The lower level is the smallest of the three spaces, and is the “cocoon” of the building. The walls and shelving are wrapped in sycamore, and the architects designed a geometric-patterned glass and polished brass screen that separates the space from the stairway and lends visual interest.
The new building, which recently received a prestigious Award of Excellence from the American Institute of Architects, New York State, will replace the Marc Jacobs Collection store designed by Stephan Jaklitsch Architects in 2002. The building will complement the nearby Marc by Marc Jacobs Harajuku store (completed in 2007), as well as several Marc Jacobs accessories stores throughout the city. We featured this project while it was in progress. You can view the construction photographs and write up here. The architects of the project, Stephan Jaklitsch Architects, just recently announced a name change to Jaklitsch/Gardner Architects marking a new era for the firm.