As its name already implies, tokyobike is a small Tokyo-based manufacturer of city bikes. Founded in 2002 in Yanaka, a suburb with a distinct rustic charm, its bike have gained a growing cult following both home and abroad, and by now tokyobike has opened stores as far-flung as London, Berlin, Singapore, Melbourne and Sydney. The Sydney store was the first one that opened outside Japan in 2010, and now it has relocated to the ground floor of the paramount building, a beautiful art déco structure from the 1940s in Surry Hills. Due to the structure’s listed status the setting could not be changed and the shop’s director Yuki Sugahara had to find a way to work around the strict set of rules. As the modification of walls and floors was off-limits, the setting’s renditions are all free-standing while plenty of the structure’s rough edges have been retained.
Sugahara wanted the new shop to maintain its semi-outdoor feel – mind you, natural light floods in quite easily – and the result is a minimalist retail setting with few but carefully chosen furnishings and props. The atmosphere is friendly and welcoming, and is conceptualized as such to appeal to both bike enthusiasts and visitors to paramount building. A sizeable white table prominently showcases a bicycle and matching accessories, but can easily be used for other purposes as tokyobike also plans to stage workshops or exhibitions here as well. The building’s old film vaults have been turned into storage space. Chunky light bulbs, brought from japan and previously used for squid fishing, have been attached to the wall and a cutesy kangaroo statuette welcomes shoppers to the premises.