tokyo: snow country

© hermès japon / photography: satoshi asakawa

while many brands and retailers worldwide are only now discovering the added value of creating shop culture rather than old school marketing their wares, the phenomenon has flourished for many decades in japan. rooted in a culture that has a finely tuned aesthetic and social sensibilities, and great appreciation of artisanal crafts, shopping in the land of the rising sun can be an exceptional experience that's nowhere else to be found. it's hardly surprising that artisanal french luxury brand hermès feel right at home in japan, and the maison hermès ginza - its flagship store and japan headquarters - is not only a bold architectural statement but also nurtures this valued relationship through innovative art exhibitions and window installations by leading japanese and international artists. the current window installation by los angeles-based korean artist christina kim anticipates the coming holiday season.

entitled snow country, the installation is in fact the artist's ode to japan and based on her infatuation with the country which started at an early age. it's a collage of experiences layered with memories. the shop windows are an orchestration of 300 rows of yo-yo puffs mathematically arranged and precisely ordered, but made to appear organic and random. it's very much a three dimensional set-up, and an effort to dissolve the separation of outside and inside. mind you, each dip-dyed yo-yo puff is made by hand from recycled fabric scraps and running yardage using a traditional american recycling technique from the 1930s. strung from floor to ceiling, the puffs animate gently in the air, mimicking snowflakes and petals floating towards the earth. lining the windows are reflective pearlescent sheets of different opacities and shades. location: maison hermès ginza, 4-1-5 ginza [ginza].

© hermès japon / photography: satoshi asakawa