Jun Aoki has designed about 6 Louis Vuitton stores in Japan and all of them are clever explorations of contemporary materials and the idea of transforming solid exterior walls into something less solid. For many of the stores Aoki has used translucent glass but in the Ginza Namiki store he has created a different sort of translucency by embedding thin pieces of Indian alabaster into GRC (glass-fibre reinforced concrete) panels, thus allowing daylight in and artificial light out.
The overall effect is a subtle restrained stone-like facade during the day, then a wonderful lantern-like effect at night.
‘This is the design of the exterior wall of a store. White, translucent alabaster from India is cast in beige glassfiber-reinforced concrete (GRC) and polished so that square shapes, large and small, appear to be scattered randomly in the wall, somewhat like terrazzo. Square areas, large and small, are also randomly arranged over the exterior wall as a whole. In those areas, the back of the panel is polished to a thickness of 15 millimeters and reinforced with a glass panel. These square areas alternately light up and vanish. The display windows too seem like fragments in terrazzo; three layers of highly transparent glass are combined and made flush with the exterior wall. The opaque wall panels are connected to the structure by GRC rib-bolts; the transparent panels are supported by glass DPS.’ – Jun Aoki
You will find more information about this project and other Jun Aoki projects from 1991-2004 in his monograph published in Japan by INAX Shuppan.
Place: Louis Vuitton Ginza Namiki
Architect: Jun Aoki
Photographer: Stephen Varady
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