When it comes to shopping in Japan, Tokyo’s sizeable and varied retail landscape is renowned across the planet and the obvious choice for most visitors. Osaka is the country’s second biggest city, and although it may not have the same claim to retail fame, it’s an equally thriving hub that has been home to a large number of independent hipster boutiques and luxury flagship stores.
Indicative of the city’s significance is the recent arrival of Prada. The Italian fashion brand had already been represented in the city with no less than six shop-in-shops at various department stores across town, but decided to step up its presence with a full-fledged flagship. Located smack on Midosuji Dori, a bustling downtown thoroughfare and home to prestigious peers, the store occupies a standalone, five-storey structure with a striking façade, crafted by French-Venezuelan artist Carlos Cruz-Diez.
It’s made of backlit panels in a blend of gold-coloured aluminium and polished steel, creating an unusual kinetic effect in such a way that it beckons from afar both in daylight and at night-time. The store interior has been designed by Italian architect Roberto Baciocchi, a longtime collaborator of the Prada brand. Each of the floors in the building is dedicated to a section of the Prada collection and has a setting of its own.
The ground floor features fixtures in polished steel and crystal, with green fabric backdrops and black marble bases, and paired with the brand’s signature black + white chequered marble floor. It’s here where the men’s and women’s leather goods and accessories collections are presented. A staircase in matching black marquina marble wraps around the volume occupied by the elevator which is made of crystal and burnished metal.
One floor up the décor swiftly changes to walls in a soft green fabric with display niches dedicated to women’s leather goods and footwear. Furniture is completed by green velvet seats and by crystal and polished steel tables. The second floor presents the women’s ready-to-wear collection. Green fabric walls and display fixtures made of perspex panels combine with geometrically shaped tables and with the green velvet clover leaf sofas by danish designer Verner Panton. The two upper floors are reserved for the men’s collection, and the setting here is characterised by masculine materials, hues and shapes. Thin staves flooring is paired with ebony wood walls, and precious cases and counters in palladium-coloured metal add some edge to the space. Ostrich leather sofas and dark brown carpets complement the luxurious setting.