Tokujin Yoshioka on his new light-filled store for Issey Miyake in Ginza, Tokyo

Titled ‘Issey Miyake Ginza / 442’ the new store is summed up by ‘light, future and sustainability’, says Tokujin Yoshioka. Here, he takes Wallpaper* inside the new four-storey Ginza outpost

The front of Issey Miyake Ginza store, Tokyo
The exterior of Issey Miyake Ginza / 442 store, Tokyo
(Image credit: Courtesy of Issey Miyake)

‘Light. Future. Sustainability.’ These are the three words that Japanese designer Tokujin Yoshioka uses to sum up the essence of his latest project: a new Issey Miyake flagship store, which opens in Tokyo’s Ginza district this week.

The new store, Issey Miyake Ginza / 442, which spans four levels of a new-build tower in the upmarket retail district, is an airy, minimalist space, with subtly nuanced shades of grey and angular lines of light and shadow.

Large rectangular aluminium panels appear to float in space, spanning walls above bright colour-bursts of Issey Miyake clothing and bordering walls of windows, evoking a softly futuristic and industrial edge.

Inside Issey Miyake Ginza / 422

Inside Issey Miyake Ginza Tokyo store with racks of colourful clothes

The interior of Issey Miyake Ginza / 442 store, Tokyo

(Image credit: Courtesy of Issey Miyake)

The panels also form a minimalist staircase that cleanly transects each level of the space, with the aluminium’s light grey tone – matte and cloud-like – blending in smoothly with the concrete flooring.

The minimalist backdrop provides the perfect visual counterpoint to the organic curves of the Issey Miyake knit installations in the window, plus the carefully curated collections showcased throughout.

The ground floor is home to the rainbow-bright pinks, greens and browns of the latest Pleats Please Issey Miyake collection, alongside bags; Issey Miyake womenswear spans the first floor; A-poc Able Issey Miyake is on the second floor; plus menswear, watches and glasses are found on the basement level.

Taking Wallpaper* on a pre-opening tour of Issey Miyake Ginza / 442, Yoshioka explains: ‘Simplicity is important. I was thinking about how to design the entire store as one coherent whole. You see how the aluminium panels intersect and cut into the space, creating an integrated concept.’

Inside Issey Miyake Ginza store Tokyo with printed T-shirts

‘Cube’ exhibition space at Issey Miyake Ginza / 445

(Image credit: Courtesy of Issey Miyake)

He adds: ‘The panels are not just for decoration – they also cover the hanger rack and on the windows, they provide shade from the sunshine. It’s spatially functional as well as aesthetic.’

Reflecting Issey Miyake’s principles, sustainability is also interwoven through the space: Yoshioka created panels from ecologically sustainable recycled aluminium, echoing the technique he used to bring to life the torch he designed for the Tokyo Olympics.

‘These panels were made by the same manufacturer in Japan as the Olympic torch,’ he explains. ‘For the torch project, I studied aluminium metal in-depth and applied that knowledge to make these panels. The panels are typically used for structural elements, created by an extrusion method.’

He adds: ‘I like using aluminium. As a material, it works really well with light. When I design, I often think about light and use it as a concept or theme. Whether it’s a surface or an interior, I like to think about how people experience light.’

Inside Issey Miyake Ginza Tokyo store with rails of colourful clothes

The interior of Issey Miyake Ginza / 442 store, Tokyo

(Image credit: Courtesy of Issey Miyake)

The new flagship sits just a stone’s throw from the company’s existing Issey Miyake store, which was designed by Taku Satoh and first opened in 2011. This sister store, now renamed Issey Miyake Ginza / 445 (reflecting its address), has been lightly renovated to create the new gallery space Cube.

The first Issey Miyake gallery in Tokyo (in addition to exhibition spaces in Kyoto and Osaka), Cube aims to tell the multi-layered stories behind the process of design and making. Its debut exhibition showcases installations inspired by the vivid flowers and bold shades of the brand’s sixth Ikko Tanaka Issey Miyake collection, featuring the motifs of the late iconic Japanese graphic designer.

For Yoshioka, who has designed numerous Issey Miyake stores over the past three decades, the new Ginza flagship is the first major store project to be completed since the passing of Issey Miyake in 2022.

Glass-front exterior of Issey Miyake Ginza Tokyo store

The exterior of Issey Miyake Ginza store, Tokyo

(Image credit: Courtesy of Issey Miyake)

Reflecting on his legacy, he says: ‘It’s very positive what he has left behind. He was working until the last moment of his life. In my last phone call with Issey san, he wanted to have a meeting for a project we are working on. That attitude is really inspiring.’

‘I consider myself to have been one of the protégés of Issey san and I hope to continue his legacy and help create many good designs and beautiful things.’

He adds: ‘I would sum up the philosophy of Issey Miyake with the words innovation and challenge. If by entering this space, people can see this philosophy in a clear way, then I think I have done my job.’

Danielle Demetriou is a British writer and editor who moved from London to Japan in 2007. She writes about design, architecture and culture (for newspapers, magazines and books) and lives in an old machiya townhouse in Kyoto. 

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