Back to the future: Issey Miyake opens a sleek flagship in a Milan palazzo
Renowned for its futuristic design process and aesthetic, Issey Miyake has bought a touch of 19th century splendour to the brand’s first Italian flagship store. The new 500 sq m space is located inside Palazzo Reina, the first historic building to be used in the Japanese label’s retail history with Miyake himself enlisting artist/designer and longtime collaborator Tokujin Yoshioka to conceive the shop’s interior.
Yoshioka, who worked under Miyake before founding his own eponymous design company in 2000, is the mastermind behind many of its retail spaces, including its Brook Street flagship in London; its Aomaya Reality Lab in Tokyo; and its recently opened Muensterhof space in Zurich. The designer also created a metal-strap watch for the label in 2015, and devised acrylic and cardboard mannequins for the ‘The Work of Issey Miyake’ retrospective at Tokyo’s National Art Centre in 2016.
Issey Miyake’s first Italian boutique is housed inside the Palazzo Reina in Milan
Miyake’s Brook Street location contrasts raw concrete walls against colourful anodised aluminium, so it’s only fitting that for the brand’s Via Bagutta location in Milan, Yoshioka continues this exploration of juxtapositions. Blue, orange and green aluminium panels and silver metal rails feature alongside grainy frescoes uncovered during the restoration of Palazzo Reina. Working in aesthetic opposition, the two finishes also act as symbols of the passage of time, representing both Italian classicism and Japanese futurism.
The time-worn hues of the ceiling and the earthy terrazzo floor also form a striking counterpoint to the the rails of rainbow-hued Pleats Please pieces, housed alongside other innovative lines including Homme Plissé Issey Miyake, Bao Bao Issey Miyake and 132 5 Issey Miyake. The brand is famed for its invention of revolutionary techniques including the creation of uncreasable pleated polyester garments using a heating machine and A-POC (A Piece of Cloth), the creation of clothing from a digitally programmed single knitted tube. Now, with its first steps in Milan, Issey Miyake has marked its Italian future with a celebratory nod to the city’s architectural past.