In 2004, Rei Kawakubo, the man behind the Japanese brand Comme des Garçons, introduced a new retail concept to London: Dover Street Market. Named for its location in London’s tony Mayfair neighborhood, is a mash-up of market, department store and museum. Last week, Kawakubo opened Dover Street Market in Tokyo, doubling its size and placing it squarely in the center of Ginza, the city’s shopping mecca.
Like its sister store in London, Dover Street Market Ginza hews to Kawakubo’s notion of “beautiful chaos.” “I see it as the mixing up and coming together of different kindred souls who all share a strong personal vision,” says the designer.
The store has 6 floors, all with different themes. “Pulse,” the Kyoto sculptor Kohei Nawa‘s series of whirling white pillars, provides a recurring motif, providing an escalator screen on every floor. Elsewhere, sculptural steel skating shelters, designed by the Vancouver firm Patkau Architects, sit in the center of a circular, skating-rink-like space while the surreal “Wasp Factory,” an installation by the production designer (and longtime Comme des Garçons collaborator) Michael Howells takes over the top floor. Kawakubo has invited a number of Japanese labels into the mix, including A Bathing Ape, Kolor, Mastermind, Sacai and Visvim, but there is no distinction between luxury and street wear or for that matter men’s and women’s wear. And if that is not enough to lead shoppers on what Kawakubo calls “a voyage of the unexpected,” the store itself promises to be reconfigured every six months.
Another Dover Street Market is scheduled to open in New York City in 2013.
“Pulse,” by the artist Kohei Nawa, surrounds the escalators and pierces through each floor, appearing throughout the six-story space.
The first floor event space was curated by Kim Jones and Alastair Mackie for Louis Vuitton and features an elephant by the British artist Stephanie Quayle. The blue Masai scarf was made by Louis Vuitton especially for the opening of Dover Street Market Ginza.
On the second floor a ceiling installation by Paris’s Coudamy Design and titled “Bear Cave” marks the concession of A Bathing Ape, which was designed by Wonderwall.
Japanese label Visvim designed a textile mural for the second floor of Dover Street Market Ginza. The giant rose is by the British artist Andy Hillman.
Balenciaga’s shop on the fourth floor of Dover Street Market Ginza.
Christopher Nemeth’s space on the fourth floor was designed by Rei Kawakubo with Keiko Nemeth.
Michael Costiff’s World Archive concession on the fourth floor features an eclectic collection of clothing and artifacts.
The New York fashion designer Adam Kimmel’s first ever shop is located on the fifth floor of Dover Street Market Ginza.
The Vancouver-based firm Patkau Architects reinterpreted its sculptural bent plywood skating shelters in steel for Dover Street Market Ginza.
The Marni shop on the fifth floor is a riot of color and pattern.
Undercover has taken up residence in a repurposed shipping container on the fifth floor of Dover Street Market Ginza.
“Wasp Factory,” a surreal installation by the British artist and production designer Michael Howells takes over the top floor of Dover Street Market Ginza.