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Bartlett School of Architecture, UCL

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Peter Marino – Tokyo – Chanel

  • On December 21, 2005

With a 10-floor palace of glass at the ritziest of all Tokyo addresses, Chanel launched its biggest boutique in the world. The store opened December 4, 2004. This lavish building in the Ginza district features a concert hall, a restaurant by celebrated French chef Alain Ducasse, and 1,300 square meters of shopping space featuring designer items sold nowhere else.

Designed by American architect Peter Marino, the 56-meter high building is set to dominate the architecture of the elite Chuo-dori avenue. It has a massive curtain wall of glass that encapsulates a nest-shaped block of aluminum in Chanel handbags’ signature tweed pattern.

The glass facade will light up Ginza each dusk to dawn with 700,000 embedded light-emitting diodes. The interactive system consists of over 6 kilometers of control cables, 5 floors of industrial control closets, 3 master control computers, and 65,000 micro computers processing over 32 trillion instructions per second.

An innovative system of 1,120 square meters of canvas roll blinds and state-changing electronic privacy glass allows office workers to see out by day but provides a black background for the display at night. The first of its kind in the world, the facade of a building becomes a giant television screen that delights passers-by.

From inside and outside the LED technology appears transparent, allowing the office worker a clear an unobstructed view of the world during the day. The street view presents the worlds largest black and white video wall at night. What I like is how thisinteractive architecture has intergrated within the chanel branding to bring something new to its aesthetic.


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