Fashion, jewelry & watch, lifestyle, beauty, foods…
Unique editors who are familiar with each genre GINZA SIX aimlessly
We spell way of enjoying that we found on foot.

Forgetting Time Strolling in a Sanctuary for Lovers of Shiny Things

Shunsuke Okabe

Ginza Six Editors Vol.5 (Jewelry&Watch)

A foreign study came out some time ago titled “All That Glistens” and became a topic of conversation. It was about why human beings tend to be attracted to shiny objects. According to the study, textures that glisten in a way reminiscent of water have captivated human beings for reasons written deep into our genetic heritage since time immemorial. I can’t say whether this is true, but I couldn’t be happier about the conclusions, since they legitimize all lovers of shiny things.

There’s no building better suited to housing shiny things than GINZA SIX, the new landmark on Ginza Chuo Dori. The interior is the work of French designer Gwenael Nicolas. It’s remarkably spacious; the open and airy atrium is perfect for the iconic Ginza name. With this magnificent approach in mind, let’s take a quick look at three stores currently drawing attention for their modern creations.

First, awaiting you on the Mihara Dori side of the second floor is Franck Muller, which also operates a street-level store in Ginza. As a total lifestyle brand, its GINZA SIX location features original furniture and various other items. It’s the brand’s first store anywhere in the world based on this concept.

When you step into the store, you first see a showcase in the shape of a tonneau, or barrel, which is the brand’s symbol. Looking more closely, you’ll find a selection of striking timepieces on display. As befits a brand with many female fans—in a mechanical watch industry whose customers are mostly men—the timepieces set here before you are all gorgeous articles of jewelry.

These mother-of-pearl ladies watches have a mysterious luster, and their cases are curved to perfectly match the curvature of the wrist. They certainly make a statement.

Moving deeper into the store, you’ll find these modern minimalist sofas. You’d think they were set there for customers to discuss their purchases, but the furniture pieces are actually Franck Muller products, and they’re all for sale. It makes sense once you take a close look and notice the tonneau motif in the details.

I should let you know, too, that the dining table toward the back of the store, the displayed crystal ware and silver cutlery, and the bags sitting in the tonneau-shaped display case are all from Franck Muller! And, moreover, you can special-order the curtains covering the windows, whose textile fabric features the brand’s iconic Byzantine numerals.

I think what best exemplifies this unique brand concept is the patisserie next to the entrance, which is also the first of its kind anywhere for the brand. The showcase is lined with sweets that sparkle just like timepieces. They include marrons glacés for around 2,000 yen each. So, why the patisserie? I asked a staff member, somewhat abruptly. The staff member informed me the idea emerged from the brand concept of enjoying time. The idea was to infuse the act of eating with the special experience of time. So, immersed in this feeling of refinement, I promised to revisit when I left the store.

The first floor features a number of Europe’s most established jewelers. Entering from the Chuo Dori side, you can see, immediately behind the escalator, a boutique from Damiani, the design house founded in Italy in 1924.

In the glass case in the front, you’ll find jewelry items from the brand’s iconic collections, including Belle Époque and D.Icon. I’m drawn particularly to the Eden collection, which won the Diamond International Award, known as the Oscars of the jewelry industry. Ear cuffs have recently emerged as a new standard in the jewelry industry. To me, this white gold cuff decorated with pavé diamonds is both a trendy and timeless aesthetic triumph.

Damiani, as you may know, also opened one of the world’s largest flagship stores in Ginza two years ago. Like the Franck Muller store we just visited, its boutique at GINZA SIX is based on a concept unique in this world. It’s a hybrid store that shares space with Venini.

Venini is a longstanding Venetian glass brand known for its modern designs and many collaborations with renowned designers. In January 2016, Venini became part of the Damiani group. Partly for this reason, the two brands opened their first store together right here at GINZA SIX.

One example is this work by Tadao Ando. Gemstones and glass—the materials differ—but both of the two brands bring traditional craftsmanship to contemporary life. I certainly sense a strong similarity in outlook and philosophy.

A major characteristic of GINZA SIX is that it offers not just imported items but a good number of jewelry brands from inside Japan. On the second floor, you’ll find AHKAH, AbHerï, Bijou de M, and other of Japan’s influential jewelers. I’m drawn particularly to the boutique of EYEFUNNY, the Japanese diamond brand.

The boutique’s industrial—and, in a sense, un-Ginza-like interior—is eye-catching, as are the store’s iconic motif-based jewelry collections and high jewelry with colored diamonds. The walls feature artwork specially ordered by Yoichi “Jury” Kawamura, designer and brand founder. The artworks are also for sale.

I was particularly taken with the kanji-number charms. Inspecting them I see the delight overseas tourists must derive from them. It wouldn’t be fair to say they’re expressly for the inbound market, but for a Japanese jeweler taking an aggressive approach to overseas expansion, GINZA SIX makes the perfect platform. And, in fact, I’m told that many fans of the brand from overseas visit this store.

GINZA SIX is all about New Luxury. But what does New Luxury mean? Is it new store formats that incorporate concepts found nowhere else, like Franck Muller and Damiani? Or is the complex’s distinctive combination of longstanding maisons and cutting-edge domestic jewelers? The possible interpretations are manifold, but in this massively scaled complex you’ll find a splendid blend of museum-like heft, the hybrid sensibility of modern Tokyo, and an otherworldly elegance that’s distinctively Ginza.

Author: Shunsuke Okabe Photographer: Utsumi Editor: Yuka Okada


Shunsuke Okabe

Born in 1990. Gained experience at The Reality Show, an independent magazine, while enrolled at Yokohama National University and subsequently began his career as a freelance editor and stylist. While writing articles for numerous fashion media, including SPUR.JP, WWD, and i-D Japan, Okabe also drew on his experience as a member of the digital native generation to provide digital content direction and consulting.
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2017.10.11 improves