Issey Miyake Steeling The Show!

September 27, 2011

The reality of working as an Interior Architect / Designer for a large retail firm is that your scope of creativity can often be hindered by brand design principals and guidelines. With this is mind we have to come up with constant new ways to create atmosphere and interactive spaces that are innovative or unique but find the correct balance so as not to impact on the brand principals.

One such store that does this perfectly is the 24 Issey Miyake Store in Tokyo designed by Japanese firm Nendo. Traditionally Issey Miyake and its brand is quite minimalist in all its visual communications be it their products, advertising campaigns, their website or simply their after shave bottles, therefore a design for a store needs to reflect this, but how do you respect this brand principal yet create an inviting retail space which attracts customers?

Simple, you do something different, something that caused wonderment and encourages interaction. In this 24 Issey Miyake store the designers have created an innovative visual merchandising platform using steel rods in place of the traditional storage or display units, thus creating a floating effect. These rods set against the white minimalist backdrop allow the colourful range of Issey Miyake apparel to come to the forefront of the customers eye.

Whilst this genius concept of visual merchandising has inspired and impressed us we applaud it most as it is a feature that once more enhances the product rather than ditracts from it, it is a piece of design genius as far as we are concerned but genius in its subtlety, this is a VM concept that can be easily achieved by the smallest of retailers with the smaller budgets. Here is a snippet from the designers taken from their website:

Based on the concept of the Japanese convenience store, 24 ISSEY MIYAKE shops combine inexpensive prices, a large variety of colours and frequent changes in product lineup. The Miyake team wanted a new design concept for the 24 Issey Miyake shop in Shibuya’s Parco shopping complex, which includes a store that specially features Miyake’s new Bilbao bag. The Bilbao bag has no set form. Instead, it settles depending on how it is placed. To match the bag, we abandoned the standard hard, flat and smooth fixtures found in most shops, and created a set of variable-height fixtures made of thin steel rods that stand like a field of prairie grass in the shop, with a similar vague, undefined shape like the bag. Shelving and hanger rods are also made of steel rods, in the 7 mm diametre common to all of the 24 Issey Miyake shop interiors. Supported by ‘points’, rather than by surfaces or lines, the bags seem to waft in the air like flowers in a light breeze, creating the illusion of a field of flowers in the store.

Have a look at the images below and let us know what you think about this design.

Images courtesy of and credited to Daici Ano