Mother of Pearls

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 spa

Hong Kong Tatler - - Style -


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 na­turein­spired 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.

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