Ginza Six by Curiosity: 2017 Best of Year Winner for Large Retail

PROJECT NAME Ginza Six
LOCATION Tokyo
FIRM Curiosity
SQ. FT. 500,000 SQF

Pulling off a minor miracle, a group of four developers has reinvented a department store’s site as a shopping mall and office space in the heart of the fashionable Ginza district. The 13-story building is the work of Yoshio Taniguchi. (Of Museum of Modern Art fame in the U.S.) The task of designing the 500,000-square foot mall interior fell to the firm led by Gwenael Nicolas. His solution? An unexpected brand of opulence that straddles experimentation and tradition to create a go-to shopping destination.

Ginza Six retail complex by Curiosity in Tokyo. Photography by Satoshi Shigeta.

Take the central atrium. Aluminum louvers, layered over oak paneling, angle up toward a frosted skylight surfaced in washi paper printed with a hemp-leaf pattern. To Japanese visitors, the colors and lines evoke traditional design. The eyes of the less-initiated might see a futuristic fantasy. “That’s the power of a Japanese aesthetic,” the French-born Nicolas says. “Sometimes it looks classic, and sometimes it looks very avant-garde.”

Ginza Six retail complex by Curiosity in Tokyo. Photography by Satoshi Shigeta.

The atrium is surrounded by more than 200 shops, each with a different floor plan. Signs guide shoppers along the idiosyncratic circulation paths, inspired by the twisting streets of an ancient city. To bring focus to the immense space, he invited artists to contribute installations. “The idea,” he says, “is for people to discover things—not just retail.” Participants have included Yayoi Kusama, whose trademark polka-dot pumpkins dangle overhead.

Ginza Six retail complex by Curiosity in Tokyo. Photography by Satoshi Shigeta.
Ginza Six retail complex by Curiosity in Tokyo. Photography by Satoshi Shigeta.
Ginza Six retail complex by Curiosity in Tokyo. Photography by Satoshi Shigeta.

> See more from the December 2017 issue of Interior Design

> See all 2017 Best of Year winners and honorees

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