The concept behind the new Issey Miyake flagship store on London’s Brook Street, explains Tokujin Yoshioka, is ‘ambivalence’. It’s a curiously neutral way to describe the undoubtedly eye-catching interior – an obvious sibling to the first outpost in Tokyo – with its combination of raw concrete columns and bright, dyed blue, aluminium panels (made in Germany, anodized in Switzerland apparently) that shines like a jewel from the street through six large windows.
Probe a little deeper, however, and it transpires that the Japanese designer has been inspired by the capital’s architecture, as well as Miyake’s relationship with ‘technology and hard work. London is a blend of historical and new buildings, and I find contrast very interesting. I think the combination of history and the future will be well accepted by the people in London,’ he tells me through a translator on the store’s opening evening.
The columns, that he only discovered when the 465-m2 former bank that sits just off New Bond Street was stripped out, signify the city’s past, while the panels, which highlight the display areas as well as the lift, represent its future. Set over two floors – with menswear located in the basement – the interior also features Yoshioka’s furniture for the likes of Desalto and Moroso. Arguably, though, the centrepiece is the light that Miyake and his Reality Lab created with Artemide that hangs above the stairwell. It’s a wonderful environment in which to showcase the brand’s extraordinary, geometric clothes. Ambivalent though? My feeling is they need to find a better description.