by Devanshi ShahDec 16, 2021
A new store, designed by Tokujin Yoshioka, has just opened in Kyoto. The retail design for A-POC ABLE ISSEY MIYAKE balances a futuristic aesthetic within a vernacular building typology by finding a balance between the two. Inspired by the manufacturing technique of ISSEY MIYAKE, which fuses technology with handcrafts, this space expresses the contrast of history and the future, housed in a traditional machiya-style structure in Japan’s ancient capital.
The traditional architectural form of the machiya is used as a reference to situate the iconic Japanese fashion brand. Conventionally, this particular building typology housed retail activities such as silk or thread shops, rice sellers, and liquor stores, among others. The front of a traditional machiya features a wooden lattice, the patterns of which indicated the type of shop. Each retail function had its own distinctive style of latticework, and the patterns are still associated and referred to by their shop names.
The colour of this lattice is also an indicator of its function, and in the case of Tokujin Yoshioka’s reinterpretation of the façade, it draws an aesthetic reference from the parent brand Issey Miyake, with a deep black finish. The facade of the second storey of a machiya is generally not made of wood, but of earthwork, however this store sees the lattice work continue above, although in an altered proportion. Visually it would seem like the solid and void pattern of the framework is inverted. While the ground floor features wider gaps in the lattice, the inverse is true for the framework on the first floor.
Having established his own studio, Tokujin Yoshioka Inc. in 2000, Yoshioka has in the past worked under designer Shiro Kuramata and fashion designer Issey Miyake. Active in the fields of design, architecture and contemporary art, he is highly acclaimed globally for his poetic works, most recently noted for his torch design of the Tokyo 2020 Olympics and Paralympics. There is a subtle connection between Yoshioka’s Olympic torch and the A-POC ABLE store, and that is the aluminium moulding technique. Inspired by the process in which the clothes of A-POC are born, the space is composed of fixtures that are formed of integrally moulded recycled aluminium.
The interior of the machiya has been stripped to reveal its structural composition. The black timber is pared down to reveal its original grains. Traversing both vertically and horizontally as beams and columns, the timber acts as a three-dimensional lattice within a white cube. The clothes are displayed on flat aluminium brackets that are anchored on the floor. Accentuated with the addition of a skylight, the interior design of the space feels more like an art gallery or museum than a retail destination.
In addition to the store opening, a new collection titled the TYPE-II Tatsuo Miyajima project, was launched as well. The collection is a collaboration with Japanese contemporary artist, Tatsuo Miyajima, who is known to produce artworks that represent time and life through the depiction of the numbers 0 through 9. This is incorporated in the collection and the store display as well.