When the Prada store in Tokyo opened its doors in 2003, it made headlines for its avant-garde style, something that really struck a chord with Naveen Jaggi, President, Retail Brokerage at JLL Americas, when he first saw it.
“It doesn’t have to compete with anything nearby for eye contact: it makes a statement by itself, which in turn is both brave and pioneering. I instantly fell in love with it.”
Designed by Swiss architects Herzog and de Meuron, Prada’s flagship store in the fashionable Aoyama District of Tokyo cost an estimated $80 million to construct. The six floor, glass ‘crystal’ – named as such for its five sided shape with flat, convex and concave ‘bubbles’ – stands away from any other retail site, amid pricey flats and office buildings. In addition to its fashion credentials, the building is also used as a part-time events space, and even boasts an outdoor area for the public, something of a rarity in space starved Tokyo.
At a time when Japan was still in the midst of a major recession, all of the building’s facets could have come across as crass and flashy. Instead, as Jaggi notes, it signalled the importance of standing out from the crowd.