Jun Aoki is probably best known (at least in the States) for his designs of Louis Vuitton retail spaces. For over a decade he’s been working on retail projects for the brand in prestigious locations like 5th Avenue, where he wrapped the flagship retail space in a kinetic moiré pattern. Like many of his projects the predominate color of the space and it’s ghostly skin is white. So I was surprised that when I went to the firm’s website and looked at projects “In Progress” and I was greeted by diagrams as colorful as a candy shelf.
The diagrams above are for a Town Hall in Miyoshi and a Gymnasium in Omiyamae. The firm links each diagram to a blog about the project’s conception and development, which you can see here and here, but the descriptions that accompany the pictures are all in Japanese and I’m a little hesitant to draw too many conclusions from the baffling translations provided by Google. What’s a bit more clear is the firm’s own Facebook page. There, the firm recently posted the two pictures below of a hair salon, the Shima Ginaza Annex. The project hasn’t made it into their website’s projects yet, only five projects have in the past three years, and from what I can tell, the project was finished in early March. It’s a sophisticated space with a luminous ceiling, marble floor, and no traces of the colors that likely dominated earlier diagrams of the project.
The contrast between diagrams of proposed projects and the reality of built projects is kind of fascinating. Color really animates the diagrams, and the compositions are livened up by the wide range of hues. They look like art. But the built spaces do not suffer, or seem any less lively, because all of the colors disappeared in the construction process. These spaces are animated by people, and I suspect that going wild and crazy with cans of paint in the spaces would only make them look terrible. Maybe as even as bad as the haircut I endured last week.
My impression is that architecture firms have been a little slow to adopt social media, but it is one of the best ways to keep up with them. I’ll follow almost any firm on Facebook, not only to find out about their latest work, but also because it can transform your newsfeed from pictures of babies and food into pictures of architecture, babies and food. Everyone’s proud of what they’ve made.