Back in 2017 we headed to Tokyo, Japan for the first time to experience one of the leading cultural hubs in the world. This trip would inspire the direction of Platform Store for the coming years and inform exactly what we get up to on the daily.
From 7Eleven and Family Mart to The Parking Ginza and the Noah Clubhouse, it was incredible to experience first hand the amount of intricacy placed on the smallest things. Our perspective on retail was completely flipped and we couldn't see it being displayed in any other way from that point.
Here we highlight a few of Japan’s physical experiences that changed our way of thinking, places that influence our take on retail and inspire what we create to date.
The Parking Ginza by Hiroshi Fujiwara
Situated inside the basement of the Sony Building in Ginza, Tokyo, the Parking Ginza by Hiroshi Fujiwara, otherwise known as the Godfather of Streetwear, is the next temporary concept store following The Pool Aoyama, which was based inside an old indoor swimming gym.
Calling upon his close relationships with Sony, Fujiwara was able to showcase a myriad of brands and products ranging from pieces WTAPs to Melamine Meal Kits by lifestyle goods brand PUEBCO Inc.
The Parking Ginza was converted from a working carpark to become a multi-brand retail destination spot and experimental space as Fujiwara constantly held new installations such as “Poggy’s Box” and “SPRING HAS COME”. The space felt new each time you went in and during our short stay we were able to experience different concepts within the store, coupled with impeccable Japanese hospitality. The parking booth was used as the counter and appropriately branding as well.
The Conveni by Hiroshi Fujiwara
To continue on from the Parking Ginza, the Conveni is the most recent of concept stores by Hiroshi. We were fortunate enough to visit it during our buying trip to Tokyo back in March, housed in the same Sony Building a couple floors up.
Fujiwara played on the concept of a convenience store and in addition to selling branded snacks, hoodies, tote-bags and t-shirts, which were packaged inside Conveni branded cans and potato-chip packets, Mark Gonzales Bicycle Cards were sold behind the counter where cigarettes typically would be.
Branded green and black tea were packaged to look like permanent markers. Yeah, it’s crazy and easy to forget you’re not in a Family Mart but a retail store. The store sign brings together the typefaces of all iconic convenience stores logos, paying homage to each one. The space is up until 2020 and definitely make sure to pick up a Fragment x WTAPs Othello board before leaving!
Noah Clubhouse - Harajuku
The legendary label by Brendan Babenzien needs no introduction. The brand’s ethics, focus on social issues and community building were heavily reflected at The Clubhouse located in the backstreets of Harajuku. Upon entering, you already notice that the people that work in the store act in a way that is unconventional to typical retail.
They welcome you in the store as if it were their home, like a visitor or even an old friend. The space donned light wood interiors, mid century furniture and even a working kitchen in what looked like a communal living space where new season products were subtly displayed.
You go for the product but stay for the people you met and the experience they gave you in the space. Till this day, we still keep in touch with some of the people we met in that store.
The Noah Clubhouse reminded us that a retail store is more than just a place of product, but a place to learn, relax and be part of a community.