tokyo is the planet's undisputed retail capital, not only because of its sprawling dimensions but also the sheer diversity its shops. as shopping is a way of life - and if you ask us, also a way to escape japanese society's rigid matrix - the city's retail landscape is constantly evolving to entertain, marvel and trigger consumers with sophisticated store concepts and ditto merchandise. japan's renowned issey miyake brand has spawned a variety of collections and lines and many have dedicated boutiques. very recently a fancy new store in aoyama as been added to its elaborate retail network on home turf, in fact adjacent to a space occupied by 132 5, one of the lines from the miyake fold. called retail lab. issey miyake, it features an interior by artist + designer tokujin ishioka. distinctly minimalist, it appears as if the interior design merely consists of a thin, crisp coating of paint sprayed onto the building's concrete shell.
the latter material is exposed in specific ceiling sections to provide depth and add an industrial edge to the serene colour scheme of blues and greens. the store is sparsely furnishes, featuring only elongates shelves, a few sleek tables and ottomans. what appears to be well-chosed decorative lighting are in fact origami paper lamps by italian manufacturer artemide which are part of the merchandise. speaking of which, retail lab. issey miyake obviously has a specific concept. it carries fashion designs - both men's and women's - of a handful of emerging japanese designers, in addition to an assortment of items from various miyake lines, a collection of the hugely popular bao bao tote bags, and last but not least homme plissé, a brand new men's line. location: from 1st building, 5-3-10 minami aoyama [aoyama].