Monday, 28 February 2011

Nike Harajuku

You won't ever find me in a sportstore, I don't do sports.  However if the sportstore happens to be designed my my all-time faves Wonderwall, well that's another story.  Wow, this Nike Harajuku store made me want to put on some lycra gear and runners and do a few laps of Yoyogi Park.  Well may-be I wouldn't go that far, but the store is seriously amazing.  It blends fashion and sport really well and the whole store is really fun to explore.  Each level is different and made up of zones dedicated to each sport but the whole store comes together through the beautiful materials and lighting.  There are better photos on their website.  The staircase features a stunningly precise display of runners which hangs from the ceiling, it's really cool.  If you have a moment check out the video with (subtitled) interview by Coolhunter Katayama from Wonderwall.
Photos by Lauren Macer

Sunday, 27 February 2011


Tiny has to be the cutest little cafe in Melbourne, and yes, it's seriously tiny.  It popped up one day late last year next to my office on Cromwell Street in Collingwood, what a lovely surprise!  It's always a delightful start to the day grabbing my coffee from Michael who seems to know just about every other customer by name already.  It's such a clever use of space with a few simple materials used really well, the interior is my Foolscap who do some awesome work.  If you're in the area do pop by (it's next to the Japanese Bath House).

Wednesday, 23 February 2011

E Marinella

There are so many beautiful stores in Tokyo, we just touched the tip of the iceberg on our trip, it just goes on and on.  E Marinella is yet another stunning store design we spotted at Tokyo Midtown.  In my mind the arched form of the mesh is reminiscent of the Italian heritage of the brand but reinterpreted in a totally contemporary way.  The curved glass of the traditional style storefront window is a nice contrast to the contemporary mesh material, it's a really stunning store.  I found that generally the storefronts were more closed than how we treat them in Australia, which creates a more intimate atmosphere inside.

Tuesday, 22 February 2011

Graf Osaka

I was so glad that in the short time we were in Osaka we managed to check out Graf.  It is such a happening place with different activities happening on each level.  I loved the showroom which had a beautiful collection of furniture and homewares and I left totally inspired.  Indoor plants filled the space with beautiful natural timbers and gorgeous ambient lighting.  In fact as soon as I got home I went to the nursery to buy a plant for home, lets see how long it stays alive!  After our shopping we had dinner at the chic restaurant which had a really nice atmosphere.

By nature Graf is a specially talented group of people.  Some can only do one thing, others are multi-talented.  Each one has a chance to become a hero.  I think that's the advantage of being a group.  It's stimulating being immersed in various personalities.  
Thinking how culture develops, untried things happen one after another, triggering a start.  In that sense I think Osaka is a town where culture is easily created.  Major happening are rare, but small explosions happen everywhere and you can feel it here.  Even without visions of concepts, a new light may shine through rhythm and explosive power.  We are trying to enjoy such exciting moments together.
Shigeki Hattori, Graf Representative

Monday, 21 February 2011

Loveless in Tokyo

Loveless was  one of the stores I had wanted to check out and it didn't disappoint!  It was dark and gothic with cool quirks in the details.  As we found generally with retail design in Japan it was the lighting that really impressed; cool feature ambient lighting with spotlights to highlight product.  The background is quite dark which created a kind of cool, sophisticated, almost nightclub atmosphere.  The textured brick wall looked really authentic, the attention to detail is amazing.   
Oh, and the men's range was really cool, the guys in Tokyo really know how to dress and even carry off using man-bags.  Mmmm may have to suggest that one to my husband so I don't end up carrying his stuff in my bag!  In my mind the Japanese just make cool look so effortless.  They are just one step ahead!
This interior is by Jamo Associates, I blogged it here a while ago so quite cool that I got to see one of their stores!  Check out their website, it's crazy how many amazing stores this firm have designed, including big ones like Opening Ceremony.  Extreme Love!
Photos by Lauren Macer except the last one.

Sunday, 20 February 2011

Nicolai Bergmann

We stumbled across this absolutely delightful florist/cafe towards the end of another crazy non-stop day in Tokyo, and man, did we need coffee!   Who knew that shopping was so exhausting, poor us!  We were seeking out some amazing architecture in the back streets of Minami Aoyama when a egg chair covered in moss drew us in to Nicolai Bergmann and not only were we blown away by the stunningly original flower designs we also discovered a beautiful cafe with great coffee.  That's right, great coffee in Japan, we found it!  And it didn't come out of a can.
The vertical green wall was one of the best we've seen, a lovely pattern and so full and lush.  I loved the air plant chandelier over the table, so much inspiration my head was about to explode!  This place had such a beautifully relaxing atmosphere and I'm just waiting for a florist/cafe like this to open in Melbourne it would surely be a winner don't you think?
Check out their website for stunning flower designs and a bit of background on Nicolai Bergmann, bringing Danish design to Japan, what a winning combo!
Photos by Lauren Macer.

Tuesday, 15 February 2011

Shiseido Ginza

Check out this hoarding for a new Shiseido store at Ginza in Japan.  I was walking past totally distracted by the beautiful buildings all around until we stopped for some reason and looked closer at the street map of the area on the hoarding.  We noticed it was for Shiseido and made up of hundreds of tiny palettes of eyeshadow.  Clever!  Hoarding restrictions stipulate that the brand cannot blatantly advertise so I thought this was a really subtle way to convey that Shiseido are moving in.
(Top photo by Andrea Moore and bottom photo by me)

Monday, 14 February 2011


We dropped by the Lanvin store at Ginza which has undergone an interior renovation.  It has a beautiful Parisian boutique feel with the low lighting, oak floors and antique display cabinets.  As lovely as it is, I wish that we could of seen the original interior with light streaming through the acrylic holes in the facade.  It seemed that the exterior and interior were a little disconnected.  The building is by Hiroshi Nakamura and opened in 2004 and is credited in relaunching the brand which was once a bit, well... stuffy and dated.  Not anymore!
Photos by me except the last one from archello

Sunday, 13 February 2011

Going Ape!

Sorry for the lack of posts over the past three weeks - I've been in JAPAN!!!  We absolutely had the most wonderful time imaginable.  I love Japan and every single Japanese person there!  Anyway more on that later...

I was so excited to stumble across this BAPE (A Bathing Ape) store in Shibuya as it was on my list of must-see stores designed by my all time faves Wonderwall.  It was even better than I imagined, perfectly detailed, seamless and impeccable.  The entry lights up and changes colour and the runners are displayed under the glass floor on a conveyor.  It's pretty cool.  There are two glass rooms with apparel on hangers and tartan patterned dropped ceiling around.  The storefront is really impressive, it conveys an image rather than displaying product on mannequins, quite different to our storefronts in Australia.  Japan really are the world leaders in retail, I was loving it!


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