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H&M, Tokyo, Japan

Issue 49 Jun / Jul 2009 : Retail : Store


dpa lighting consultants, in association with Universal Design Studios, have produced two retail landmark projects in Japan for H&M, the international retail outfit that has entered the Japanese market with the opening of the Ginza and Harajuku stores in Tokyo. dpa associate Richard Bolt explains the different approach needed for the two stores

The Tokyo retail scene is innovative and world renowned and hence this was an extremely challenging project, particularly as dpa were competing visually with a lot of high end brand landmark reference points in Tokyo. The idea was to develop building envelopes that would become a landmark installation both from afar and adjacent with human interaction. The lighting had to ensure suitable impact and dynamics both during the day and particularly at night, which is when the Tokyo retail scene really takes off.

H&M, Ginza  (Sep 2008)

dpa worked in close collaboration with Universal Design Studios to achieve a stimulating and visually powerful shop front elevation, where the lighting design reinforced the patterning of the glass facade and light box behind. The result of the interplay between artificial lighting and applied graphics is the deliberate visual interference between opposing screen-print patterns, therefore creating a moving dynamic across the three storey shop elevation, which is a very well worked trick.

The UDS shop front design incorporates a screen-printed graphic consisting of an opal chevron pattern which is applied to the internal face of the front window. The front glass is uplit using cool white metal halide luminaires sited in a recessed lighting slot within the shop front floor. Sections of the front glass are also left clear so that a degree of transparency is achieved to view the uplit mannequins that use warm white metal halide light, and the internally illuminated cool white light box behind. The light box also has an applied screen-print graphic, but uses a black chevron pattern with opal backing so as to create a distinct contrast with the front glass and maximise the visual impact of the two opposing patterns. The lighting to the light box consists of 5000K cool white T8 lamps, grouped in to three switching channels, so that there is a degree of flexibility and control over the intensity of the shop front lighting, which is controlled via a solar time clock.

Lighting trials were conducted in Tokyo and also in Stockholm (home of H&M) utilising an existing H&M shop front. It was really important that the selection of the lamp colour temperature associated with the luminaires were carefully considered and trialled against the proposed materials and graphic patterns, so that we could be confident of a stunning result. In addition, the trials would be used to determine the required intensity of light to appropriately express the façade and reinforce the drama of the design, taking in to consideration the active and energetically lit Tokyo retail street scene.

dpa were also involved with lighting of the internal staircase, with it’s multi faceted plaster cast panels. We were able to inject lighting techniques within the staircase design that were really powerful and complimented the sculptural form of this intriguing piece of circulation – UDS were keen for this to be no ordinary staircase and saw it as a unique opportunity to create something special! The integration of concealed linear cool white linear fluorescent within a dedicated ceiling slot, together with a cool white LED profile to the interface between the stair and wall, helped to maximise the impact of the design.

H&M, Harajuku (Nov 2008)

H&M required both the Ginza and Harajuku projects to provide a visually stimulating lit result at night, however the interior design concepts for both were quite different, together with the H&M buildings in which the stores were housed.

Harajuku differs architecturally from Ginza in that the façade’s verticality appears to be made up from a series of overlapping glazed cubes. The Ginza building has a somewhat more regular linear form, but with a central sinuous façade line that neatly delineates the solid and glass cladding layout, a feature that is particularly strong on the lower shop floor levels. At night the Harajuku building appears to resemble a collection of lit ‘ice cubes’ that are built up in to an architectural stack. However the main attraction is accommodated within the lower three retail floor levels. Here, the glass façade encases a clever arrangement of matt white painted aluminium slats, which lean forwards and backwards, resulting in a wave like pattern.

The lighting concept was to express the form of the slats on both sides of the façade and work with their orientation, so that a sense of movement could be achieved.  In addition, dpa were keen to work on the interplay of light and shadow, in relation to the light travelling through the gaps between the slats. We wanted it to appear as though it was natural light that was creating a pattern on the surface beyond the slats for added theatre.

Following a series of lighting trials in Tokyo, the final scheme allowed for the integration of uplights within the shop front floor, using cool white 4200K metal halide lamps and the use of a spreader lens optic, which produced a linear wash of light. The lighting effects were reversed for the internal face of the slats, which were downlit via track mounted spotlights, again with spreader lenses. Therefore, a pattern of lit lines is cast both on to the shop front floor and also the ceiling of the store.

UDS transferred their interior concept to the central staircase, which was lit via recessed downlights and track mounted spotlights with spreader lenses. The staircase is something that you might expect to find in an art gallery or museum, with its cleverly crafted sculptural form.


H&M Ginza
Meyer (Uplights to front glass - Product: NightVision)
Erco (Uplights to mannequins and downlighting to front glass - Product: Optec Spotlight)
National Lighting Japan (Light Box - Product: T8 linear fluorescent battens)

Tokistar, Japan (LED uplighting to plaster cast panels)
National Lighting Japan (Concealed floating to ceiling - Product: T8 linear fluorescent battens)

H&M Harajuku
Meyer (Uplights to aluminium slats (street side) - Product: NightVision)
Erco (Uplights to mannequins  - Product: Optec Spotlight)
Nordic Light (Track mounted downlighting to aluminium slats (shop side) - Product: Tube Mini 70E)

Nordic Light (Track mounted downlighting to aluminium slats - Product: Tube Mini 70E)


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