Mikimoto’s flagship Ginza store, a magnet for pearl fanciers for four decades, has just reopened after a lavish redesign and refurbishment. Charlene Co visits the gleaming new Tokyo landmark and discovers seven things to look out for in the remarkable space.
In designing the grand exterior, renowned architect Hiroshi Naito was inspired by the ripples of a gentle sea. He used more than 40,000 glass plates to evoke such a sea, creating an extraordinary facade whose aesthetic sets the building apart from its neighbours along the cosmopolitan avenue. “I wanted to create a facade that doesn’t exist anywhere in the world,” Naito says. “The thousands of small glass plates accomplished just that, creating something that has never been seen before, where we see the exterior capturing the transparency and depth of light.”
Thanks to floor-to-ceiling windows, natural light floods the store’s 40,000 square feet of retail space, which is spread across six floors. The interior design, with its nature- inspired furnishings and decor in a soft grey palate, evokes the beauty and lustre of the pearl. Custom-made chandeliers of Lalique crystal add a stunning yet subtle touch of luxury.
As well as Mikimoto’s exquisite pearl jewellery, visitors can also appreciate beautiful works by Japanese craftsmen and artists, among them Syuhei Hasado’s “sea wave” wall sculptures, thick plaster works that represent the softness of sand. In contrast, Tomaya Tachibana’s walls of tin feature delicate sakura patterns and are matched with chairs reminiscent of the smooth stones typically found by the seaside. Other walls are lined with beautiful Nishijin-ori, a traditional woven textile used for centuries to make kimonos, which features wave and sea foam motifs.
A dream for brides-to-be, the Ginza boutique has an entire floor dedicated to engagement rings, wedding bands and bridal jewellery. There are luxurious enclosed compartments for couples who want privacy, there’s a section where lovebirds can have their photos taken, and the design of the floor incorporates a clover motif symbolising prosperity and happiness.
The floor dedicated to Mikimoto’s high jewellery and bespoke services is inspired by a significant item in the maison’s archives, the Yaguruma sash clip. Exhibited at the 1937 World Exposition in Paris to showcase the innovation and creativity of Japanese jewellery designers, the piece can be worn in 12 different ways. Details of the iconic clip appear in the floor’s design, from the flooring and ceiling to the chandelier and the shape of the counter. The floor also features private niches where clients can view pieces and discuss custom orders in complete seclusion.
A one-stop shop, the Ginza boutique features a customer service desk where certified gemmologists and repair technicians are on hand to help with anything from answering gem-related questions to restringing pearls or remodelling an existing piece.
To mark the reopening of its flagship store, Mikimoto created the Praise to Nature collection. The pieces, through their designs and choice of pearls and gemstones, evoke the sea at different times of day. Golden pearls represent the warm reflection of the sun on the sea as it rises; white Akoya pearls symbolise the moon-lit ocean; while pearls of graduating shades show the sweep of colour throughout the day.