Chanel's Ginza Namiki boutique.

PARIS — Chanel has razed its first boutique in Tokyo’s Ginza district in Japan, originally opened in 1994, and built a brand-new, nine-story flagship by architect Peter Marino in its place.

The unit is located on Namiki Street, a stone’s throw from the main Chanel flagship in Ginza, which is the French luxury brand’s largest boutique in Japan. Of the Namiki building’s nine floors, six are dedicated to selling areas, with only a single room per floor.

Bruno Pavlovsky, president of fashion at Chanel, noted that by comparison, the main Ginza flagship is much more spacious, spreading over more than 10,765 square feet on three floors. It has seen an increase in activity with the rise of Chinese tourism in Japan in recent years.

“The Ginza boutique is very active. It’s one of our top stores worldwide, and therefore, having this very intimate boutique just a few hundred yards away will allow us to develop even more exceptional service for some of our customers,” he told WWD.

The exterior of Chanel’s Ginza Namiki boutique.  Courtesy

The original Namiki building had to be torn down because it was no longer considered earthquake-proof. Chanel decided to buy the terrain it was located on and asked Marino to come up with a concept adapted to the narrow space.

“We created a slender form and carefully inserted it into the site. The scale of the building respects the small lots of Namiki-dori, yet its height provides a new design icon for the neighborhood,” said Marino, noting that windows of different sizes were designed to make the building look like a sculptural object.

“I’ve worked with the brand for over 25 years and Chanel is the epitome of French tradition and modernity combined. As a client, they are always looking to evolve the brand and push it forward architecturally,” he added.

Chanel’s Ginza Namiki boutique.  Courtesy

The boutique sells handbags and accessories on the first floor, shoes and accessories on the second, and ready-to-wear, handbags and watches on the third. The fourth floor carries rtw, while the eighth floor houses a beauty salon.

The store is decorated with art works by the likes of Agnes Martin, Anthony Pearson, Heinz Mack, Lawrence Carroll, Gregor Hildebrandt and Yamauchi Masao. “Each work of art echoes the legendary iconography of Chanel, as contemporary references to the Chanel black and white, the geometric intricacies of the Chanel tweed,” Marino said.

The brand celebrated the opening late last year by commissioning artist Shuji Mukai to create temporary panels displayed on the graphic black-and-white facade. It inaugurated the building’s ninth-floor VIP salon with a presentation of its haute couture collection.

“It’s a perfect setting. We didn’t have that sort of thing in the house and the impact vis-à-vis the customers was exceptional,” Pavlovsky said.

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