Projects   Lighting – November 2005
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Chanel Ginza

Peter Marino + Associates Architects

Peter Marino wraps Chanel Ginza in Tokyo with a cloak of light inspired by one of Coco’s woven tweeds

  Photo © Vincent Knapp

By William Weathersby, Jr.

F ashion is architecture: It is a matter of proportions,” Coco Chanel once said. The legendary designer known as a 20th-century trailblazer of style was also acknowledged as an innovator because of the careful construction of her seemingly simple suits. So why should the construction of a new flagship Tokyo store for the contemporary house of Chanel be any different? With a six-layer, integrated curtain-wall system fitted onto a reinforced-concrete core, New York–based Peter Marino + Associates Architects has created a chameleonlike structure cloaked in shimmering light.

“Functioning as a 21st-century branding billboard, the building is a conceptual rendering of a classic Chanel tweed,” says principal architect Peter Marino. The design team’s primary objective was to create a contemporary, iconic architectural expression of the Chanel ethos. At 215 feet, the building is the tallest in the upscale Ginza shopping district. The 10-story building comprises a three-level Chanel retail boutique, a fourth-floor exhibition and concert space, rental offices on the upper floors, a gourmet restaurant on the penthouse level, and a multifunction rooftop garden terrace.

Working with fabricators in Germany, Japan, and California, Marino’s team set out to create an ambitious melding of lighting and infrastructure. With lighting elements combined with steel mesh and sandwiched between layers of glass, the Chanel tower advances the architectural integration of LED technology into a curtain wall. “The lighting is not applied but instead is a key component of the facade itself,” says Marino project associate in charge Darren Nolan.

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the People


Architect, interior designer,
and lighting concept

Peter Marino + Associates Architects

Peter Marino

Associate in charge:
Darren Nolan

Project Team:
Osamu Mochizuki, Lee Harris, Yuuki Kitada

Exterior lighting:
SGF Associates - Yasuki Hashimoto, in partnership with LED Effects - Kevin Furry

Interior lighting:
Worktecht; L’Observatoire

Vincent Knapp
Satoshi Minakawa
Paul Warchol

the Products

Exterior Cladding
Curtain-wall glass panels,fabrication:
Eckelt Glas GmbH; Josef Gartner GmbH

Custom LEDs:
LED Effects

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