The Gucci Ginza building focuses on the exploration of light and its’ ability to transform the individual’s experience of place. Wrapped in a unique glass that actively interacts with the sun through refraction and reflection, the building is a refined prismatic tower which emphasizes the slenderness dictated by the building plan. The result is a landmark for the city and an extraordinary flagship retail store for Gucci.
Responding to the activity of Harumi Street, the double glass skin at the narrow, primary façade is located outboard of the clear glass skin in an alternating pattern which masks and reveals the inner clear glass skin. The screen wall is suspended by a series of stainless steel and bronze rods, floating off of the shear wall of the building exterior. Along the longer facade facing a narrow street, the roller pattern glass is located inboard of the clear glass skin resulting in a language of light that is much quieter out of deference to the retail environment it encloses, moderating the quality of light and access to views.
The prismatic glass, designed specifically for Gucci, is a deeply cut surface of vertical prisms that produce, when viewed from the interior or exterior, an active, optically responsive surface. The building, occupying a south west facing corner, necessitated the need to address the issues of excessive sun and resulting heat gain from this exposure. The prismatic glass, produced in a transparent bronze color, acts as a sun screen for the front elevation. By focusing on the dynamic interface between interior and exterior worlds, a dynamic canvas emerges. Whether responding to the daytime sun or the frenetic artificial lighting of Ginza at night, the building acts as a quiet, luminous beacon, glowing much like a Japanese lantern.
Client: Gucci Japan
Architect/Engineer/Contractor: Obayashi Corporation