French luxury brand Louis Vuitton opens its newest flagship boutique, Maison Osaka Midosuji. First opened to the customers on 1 February 2020, the boutique is the imaginative result of a close collaboration between architects Jun Aoki and Peter Marino, who both share a long-standing relationship with the French House. This new four-floor store reflects Osaka’s heritage as Japan’s most important port and highlight’s the city’s growing role as an international travel hub.
In cooperation with celebrated chef Yosuke Suga, Le Café V, the very first Louis Vuitton café, sits atop Louis Vuitton Maison Osaka Midosuji, guarding the secret entrance to Sugalabo V, Suga’s exclusive restaurant, also housed within the Maison.
Architect Jun Aoki is known for his work on a number of landmark Louis Vuitton stores in Japan and around the world, including New York’s Fifth Avenue Maison. Drawing on Osaka’s history as a sea-faring city, Aoki imagined a light and airy white structure inspired by the traditional Higaki-Kaisen cargo ship and its billowing sails. The purity of the façade is reinforced by the use of metal fretwork motifs at ground level, giving the impression of a ship floating on water.
The design of the façade also allows for the optimal use of natural light. By illuminating the different levels, the store breathes the city’s energy, while offering clients a sense of calm and respite.
A celebration of swirling, lucid colours announces the grand opening of the new Maison in Osaka’s famed Midosuji area. In collaboration with artist Kenta Cobayashi, who was a photographer on the House’s Fall/Winter 2019 Men’s advertising campaign, liquid crystal distortions were modelled into a bespoke sculpture that ribbons across the store’s windows. As a juxtaposition to the architecture of the Maison, itself a poetic homage to the minimalism of Japanese craftsmanship, these windows blur the lines between digital fantasy and reality, a speciality of Cobayashi’s imagery, and acknowledges Japan as a hub of technology.
INSIDE THE MAISON
Architect Peter Marino has followed similar inspirations to design and decorate the inside of the Maison, connecting the store’s four floors to both the maritime feel of the building and to its connection with Japanese traditional culture. In spaces dedicated to a complete offering of the different universes and collections, wooden floors give the impression of decks, with wood-clad pillars and metal ceilings reminiscent of the spirit of a grand yacht embarking on an exciting adventure.
Traditional Japanese materials such as woodwork and origami washi paper feature throughout. The vast spaces are worked to create varying volumes, from spectacular halls to more intimate corners and lounges. The ground floor is devoted to women’s accessories, while a mezzanine floor, dedicated to luggage and the Art of Travel, allows visitors to gain a bird’s eye view of the generous volumes of the main hall. Designed especially for the Maison’s opening, exclusive women’s products, such as a mink hoody, blue sapphire Tambour watch and B Blossom necklace make welcomed appearances around the store, while a complete offering of women’s ready-to-wear and accessories by Nicolas Ghesquière, Louis Vuitton’s Artistic Director of Women’s Collections, occupies the third floor.
The fourth floor is home to Louis Vuitton Men’s Artistic Director Virgil Abloh’s complete offering, where his exclusive designs from the Spring-Summer 2020 fashion show including a hoody and cargo pants, a Taurillon leather messenger bag and sunglasses rub shoulders with the permanent collection.
LOUIS VUITTON OBJETS NOMADS
Throughout the Maison, Objets Nomades bring their colourful creativity. On permanent offer, they are placed to emphasize or contrast with the architecture, hanging down from the generous heights of the store’s floor. Launched in 2012, the Louis Vuitton Objets Nomades collection of designer travel and home-related objects keeps alive the House’s long tradition of beautifully crafted travel-inspired pieces.
Fourteen of the world’s most renowned designers, including Yoshioka Tokujin, Atelier Oi, and Nendo amongst others, have imagined fifty-six stunning Objets, which have then been made by Louis Vuitton. Sharing a sense of intuitiveness, desire and pleasure, the Objets Nomades continue Louis Vuitton’s tradition of offering inspiring and surprising designs anchored in evolving visions of travel.
ARTS IN THE MAISON
Historical Louis Vuitton archival objects and unparalleled artisanal savoir-faire provides clients with an entirely unique private shopping experience surrounded by works of art. In a silent discussion between past and present, original Louis Vuitton trunks sit alongside nearly 20 contemporary artworks selected or commissioned by Peter Marino. Offering a counterpoint to the cool lines of the building, artworks by Vik Muniz, Polly Apfelbaum, Kimiko Fujimura, Nicola de Maria, and Ida Tursic & Wilfried Mille present abstract bursts of colour or depict natural landscapes throughout the four floors.
A unique work by Gregor Hildebrandt, Osaka Schwimmbad (Anne), (composed of cut vinyl records, wood, canvas, acrylic) reflects Osaka’s relationship with its cherished bay. In addition to the hanging artworks, in-store Louis Vuitton artisans help make each client’s item their own by imagining personalised and unique hand-painted illustrations for their leather goods and hard-sided pieces.