jun aoki designs exterior of ‘billowing sails’ for louis vuitton maison in japan

french fashion house louis vuitton has opened the largest of its flagship stores in japan with a facade by architect jun aoki and interiors by new york designer peter marino. inspired by sailing vessels and recalling osaka’s history as a seaside town, its concept reflects osaka’s heritage as japan’s most important port.

jun aoki designs exterior of 'billowing sails' for louis vuitton maison in japan

images courtesy of louis vuitton



jun aoki imagined a light and airy white structure referencing the billowing sails of traditional higaki-kaisen cargo ships, which once transported cargo from osaka to edo. the purity of the façade is reinforced by the use of metal fretwork motifs at ground level, giving the impression of a ship floating on water.



slated to open on february 1st, inside the flour-floor louis vuitton store, peter marino has followed similar inspirations. wooden floors give the impression of decks, with wood-clad pillars and metal ceilings reminiscent of the spirit of a grand yacht embarking on an exciting adventure. meanwhile, traditional japanese materials such as woodwork and origami washi paper decorate spaces of various volumes including large halls and smaller corners.



in what louis vuitton calls a ‘silent discussion between past and present’, original louis vuitton trunks sit alongside nearly 20 contemporary artworks selected or commissioned by marino. offering a counterpoint to the cool lines of the building, artworks by vik muniz, polly apfelbaum, kimiko fujimura, nicola de maria, and ida tursic & wilfried mille present abstract bursts of colour or depict natural landscapes throughout the four floors.



the maison will also feature louis vuitton’s first-ever café and restaurant, le café V and sugalabo V. located on the top floor, le café V’s cocktail bar features a terrace and adjoining bar with a unique cocoon room. the top floor makes optimal use of its proximity to the sky, with a sea-like terrazzo floor and coloured roof decorations reflecting and refracting the rays of the sun.



next to that, a speakeasy-style door allows access to the restaurant sugalabo V, which features an open kitchen, and architectural details from the original venue, alongside nautical materials and details connecting to the central theme of the building’s design. both will feature dishes from famed chef yosuke suga, a protégé of internationally celebrated french chef joël robuchon.



jun aoki is known for his work on a number of landmark louis vuitton stores in japan and around the world, including new york’s fifth avenue maison. his other designs include a store shaped to look like a cascading waterfall and a facade with abstracted patterns and LEDs that change throughout the day.


peter marino is a new york-based designer and the principal architect of his own internationally acclaimed practice. last year, he redesigned louis vuitton’s london store on new bond street starting from its reconstructed exterio, which featured a giant ‘explosion’ of louis vuitton logos.



project info


architect: jun aoki
interior architect: peter marino
brand: louis vuitton
location: osaka, japan
address: 2-8-16, shinsaibashisuji, chuo-ku, osaka-shi, osaka, japan
opening date: february 1st, 2020

kieron marchese I designboom

jan 29, 2020