The glass facade of this Tokyo accessories store is imprinted with a chevron pattern based on a motif from the lining of an Hermès handbag (+ slideshow).
Japanese studio Hiroshi Nakamura & NAP was commissioned to renovate the space for a Tokyo boutique that specialises in accessories by the French fashion brand.
The shop, situated in the Nishi-Azabu ward, is called L'ecrin – a French word that translates as "Jewel Box."
Taking the zigzag-patterned linings of the Hermès handbags as inspiration, Nakamura's studio devised a chevron imprint for the glass, which partially obscures the contents from the street while providing ample daylight for customers to peruse the collections.
"The client desired good interior visibility enticing to passers-by, yet maintaining a moderate degree of privacy for customers," said the studio.
"We proposed a complexly patterned glass facade, bright and glittering in effect like a glass jewel box, through which the interior would be half-visible."
Owing to the cost of using cut glass, the architects came up with an alternative technique to produce the pattern.
Plates of 12-millimetre-thick glass were laid over a stainless steel frame with sharpened edges and heated in a kiln so that the glass would soften into the form. This method produces a slightly textured pattern with a rounded profile.
"The glass, by its own weight, sagged 10 to 13 millimetres into the frame's open spaces to produce the individual chevrons," explained the team.
Sheets of this glass are also used as screens across the interior of the shop, where brightly coloured handbags including the infamous Hermès Birkin bag are displayed on shelves recessed into timber and limestone walls.
Smaller accessories are presented in transparent glass vitrines with timber frames that match the walls.
"The result is a gently billowing glass that seems to fill the interior with a happy mood," added the studio. "Beyond, the beautiful bags glow like colourful jewels against a backdrop of custom-made furniture, silver leaf fittings, and limestone walls."