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The Aoyama district is Tokyo’s fashion mecca, welcoming an endless parade of tourists and shoppers clamouring over the latest trends. But just as in London, Paris or New York, the global pandemic has drastically changed the fashion and shopping landscape. Tasked to renovate a three-storey building in Aoyama, London studio PAN- PROJECTS, together with Haruki Oku Design, reconsidered the impact of the pandemic on shopping habits and the functions of physical shops, envisioning a new spatial model of a post-Covid store in a project called The Playhouse. 

With online shopping having been the norm for the past year – more so than pre-Covid, we should note – The Playhouse stands out as a conceptual space to learn, discover and experience cultures related to the brands of products. Its glazed facade is an alternative form of theatre itself, fronted by a moveable curtain that reveals various floors and temporary stages throughout the building. 

Transformable architectural elements give the building the flexibility to adapt to different activities such as talks, concerts or other social events which take place on the second and third levels. The ground level hosts a walk-in British fashion store, designed with multiple rotatable walls that section off the space to accommodate pop-up markets, workshops or fashion shows. These walls also allow a rotation of brands to be featured, piquing customer curiosity and drawing them into the store to browse the most recent fashion offerings. 

A mix of products and events, The Playhouse elevates the shopping experience with a dose of curiosity, drama and constant interaction. PAN- PROJECTS could very well have stumbled upon the new standard of retail spaces post-COVID. More on their website and Instagram.

The Playhouse PAN- PROJECTS
The Playhouse PAN- PROJECTS
The Playhouse PAN- PROJECTS
The Playhouse PAN- PROJECTS
The Playhouse PAN- PROJECTS

Photography © Kenji Seo for PAN- PROJECTS

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