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Flagship store for Issey Miyake

Part 2 Project 2008
Shigemi Challand
London South Bank University, UK
I wanted to express the character of Issey Miyake's obsession with the pleat in this flagship store. The rotated and scaled timber flitch beams forming the main structure became two coiled surfaces, both with an explicitly pleated topography. I also wanted to reflect the fashion industry ritual of seasonal collections, by transforming seasonal imagery such as frozen stalagmites and dandelion clocks into parts of the building: glass columns and repeated lightweight louvres. The louvres add a second layer of complexity to the pleated main structure, and act as supports for a translucent glass roof filtering light to the display areas.
Shigemi Challand

Shigemi's work on this project is characterised by a beautifully crafted approach to space and form, and a real appreciation of the grain and texture of construction materials. The project is generated from the idea of the pleat, but Shigemi never forgets that she is dealing with the making of a building rather than a garment. The form of the Issey Miyake store has been scoured from a potential sense of place, rather than the actual qualities of the existing site - actually a grim transitional zone in the shadow of the Brent Cross mall that was the 1970s prototype for selling the concept of supersized shopping to north London. Shigemi saw the store as emerging from a dialogue between landscape and architecture, and the special spaces made at the junction between the two. The roof swoops around with a Kenzo Tange-like exuberance, and dips down as if one could easily hop on and walk across it.

The project shows particular concern for the tactile qualities of architecture, often favouring a simple palette of naturally sourced materials. Shigemi represents architecture in a very painterly way, every line clean and precise, but with a concealed depth and meaning to the spaces. The architecture has been tested by a series of exquisitely made and rather obsessive models, each a daring but delicate structural experiment. All these experiments have been synthesised into this flagship store project, which manages to bring the sensual flow of an Issey Miyake frock to an essentially hostile site. The swirl of the building fabric is a lovely counterpoint to the agitated roar of the traffic, the swell of the roof instantly memorable at all the speeds it may be experienced.

Ms Lilly Kudic

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