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Ian Caulder, our executive creative director is just back from a recent research trip in Tokyo, prowling around to discover those secret gems away from the big multi-brand luxury boulevards and tourist highways. We hope you will be inspired to take a trip for yourself.

2F, 2-27-25 Minami-Aoyama, Minato-ku

This was one of our favourite stores housed on a large upper level
in an open-plan rectangular space. It was cleverly designed to play
on its simplicity, with an understated clean industrial aesthetic of neutral grey plaster, raw steel and stone with open services cleverly blended into the overall scheme. The gallery like space carried through to the fixture displays that focus on enhancing the product as beautiful pieces of contemporary design. There were touches of tarnished copper in the rails, recycled timber and found pieces which gave a sense of warmth to the otherwise cool space. The environment was a pleasure to shop encouraging you to really browse the product, everything from fashion to furniture.


1LDK Aoyama Hotel
6-8-18 Minami-Aoyama,

An unusual concept entered via what feels like a foyer to a boutique hotel, but is actually a contemporary menswear and womenswear store, you are greeted and directed to the upper floor. Here an original take on the idea of a hotel, where from an open framed corridor you enter rooms showing collections and behind closed doors and secret mirrors, changing areas are revealed. It is a very original idea and a clever illusion that works surprisingly well drawing you around the space. There is a light touch to the clean palette of stone and pale timber with vibrant red rails, it is reminiscent of an architectural early 80’s design.


The Pool Aoyama
Chateau Toyo Minami-Aoyama 1F, 5-12-24
Minami-Aoyama, Minato-ku

This is an extraordinary store and very hard to find as it is located in an unexpected place. Created by a famous Japanese fashion model, who was so inspired by this wonderful redundant swimming pool, that he decided to turn it into a retail fashion store. It is cleverly designed so that you enter down steps into the lower depths of the well of the pool to be surrounded by retail fixtures that feel like an integral part of the perimeter. Behind the closed doors of the old changing rooms and shower cubicles are the hidden fitting rooms that retain the integrity of what was originally there and give a real sense of its past use. It is a creative and innovative reinvention of the space that just leaves you amazed at the ingenuity of the design.


4-12-10 Jingumae, Shibuya-ku

The art of Denham, a leading denim brand, is captured within the design of this store through its careful focus on attention to detail.  You really feel every piece of clothing is lovingly made with an eye for craft and tailoring, subliminally captured in such details as the magnifiers to view close up details and scissors acting as clothes pegs. There is a nostalgic tone to its communication that adds authenticity, while the lightness of the space brings a more modern take with a simple, honest approach to materials. The store is well considered, inviting and a well executed reinforcement of the key product values.


Laila Tokio
2F, 1-5-11 Shibuya, Shibuya-ku

The contemporary white painted anonymous concrete square structure gives you no clue to its purpose. There are little windows to give a glimpse of what lies beyond its entrance. On entering up a flight of stairs you question if you have found the right place or stumbled into a private dwelling. Then you suddenly appear in what can best be described as a capsule sized fashion pod. There is a strong singular aesthetic carried within its walls of a distinctive 3D pyramid relief signature design that seems to float above an illuminated glass floor.  The white rails are simply a means to hold product, while the ice like transparent showcases add to the coolness of this design that reminds you of the Ice hotel.


Opening Ceremony Omotesando
6-7-1-B Jingumae, Shibuya-ku

Bizarre is the best word to describe aspects of this fashion store, a mix of original and inspirational ideas within an urban, clean industrial environment. We loved the innovative vibrant Memphis / pop art inspired low cost design solution for the  conventional fire escape stairs, adding pace and energy to an otherwise pedestrian space.  Even though it could be perceived as a bit crazy, the stuffed ostriches and other animals carrying showcases left a never to be forgotten memory. The vibrant mirrored faceted fitting rooms felt like jewels to be discovered and the overall effect was reminiscent of a modern urban gallery space housing contemporary art installations.


Rose Bud
1-23-18 Shibuya, Shibuya-ku

On first impressions this does not appear like a store at all, but
a building from an exotic fantasy in another part of the world. 
The highly distinctive façade hides a world of layered eclecticism,
housing an interesting and to be discovered women’s lifestyle brand.This is far away from that school of cool understated Japanese design. Inspiration comes from bazaars and markets discovered in North African cities, where you hunt for wonderful finds. There is a magical quality to the whole place that draws you in to find out what lies beyond its mysterious hidden walls.


Actus Interiors
B1F/1F/2F, 3-25-15 Jingumae, Shibuya-ku

A strong fret cut steel entrance guides you into a space displaying outside homewares, before entering through to a lifestyle store. This big industrial warehouse feel to the space has been retained as an overall aesthetic, whilst using a palette of natural material fixtures and open divisions to create smaller spaces. The emphasis here is on the heavy layering of product and the use of strong visual merchandising, rather than an over-statement with the store design itself. It works well with the singular taste level of product selection that is neutral, natural and timelessly modern.


Garden Tokyo
Black Garden 4-8-12 Jingumae, Shibuya-ku

A real little gem built around a steel Mechano kit style structure, clad with natural timber and simple honest ply-panelled floors. Services and lighting are beautifully executed and become an integral part of the store design. It has a container crate feel, with every detail well linked together. The mix of found and recycled pieces including a beautiful old vintage sign ‘The Garden’, adds a slight nostalgic tone to the overall feel.