You can buy Prada in lots of places. You still have to come to this store. The six-story structure by Herzog & de Meuron was an instant sensation when it opened in 2003, and it remains a singular architectural achievement. Nestled in the dense Aoyama district, the store immediately surprises with its generous open space around the structure. But it’s the now-famous diamond-shaped glazing, moving from flat to convex across the skin of the building, that immediately catches the eye. Inside, floors and structural forms blend from one into the other and back again. It’s a tour de force, worth a visit even if you leave empty-handed (though with every Prada line on display here, that may be difficult).
2F Minami-Aoyama City House, 5-4-44, Minami-Aoyama
Socrates taught Plato; Plato taught Aristotle. Rei Kawakubo mentored Junya Watanabe, and both mentored Chitose Abe. In 1999, she started her own label, Sacai (a derivation of her maiden name, Sakai). You’d think a store would be quick to follow, but Abe doesn’t follow the same old playbook. She waited twelve years before opening her flagship in Tokyo’s Aoyama neighborhood. The store was a collaboration with rising starchitecht Sosuke Fujimoto, and the results are a perfect complement to Abe’s designs: a space that embraces the contemporary and the classic, bringing both together to create something truly new.