There is some cool design going on in Tokyo and here's a good example of it in my old funky neighborhood, Harajuku, from The Japan Times:
COUNTER CULTURE HHSTYLE.COM/CASA
Black monolith rises in Harajuku
By MARTIN WEBB
Tokyo is famed for its haphazard layout, with tatty old two-story structures nestling up against ultra-modern constructions, and areas seemingly designated for one type of business that are punctuated by anomalous residential or industrial premises.
hhstyle.com/casa's awe-inspiring edifice dominates its low-key surroundings on Harajuku's famed fashion drag Cat Street.
Interior-design product retailer hhstyle.com's glass-and-steel flagship store is a case in point. It occupies a prime spot on Harajuku's Cat Street, the spiritual home of Tokyo's street-fashion subculture, and is surrounded by ramshackle shops peddling punkish clothes to supposedly angst-ridden teens -- few of whom could afford most of the stuff being sold by hhstyle.com.
As one of the first "clicks and mortar" online/physical combination retailers in Japan, hhstyle.com has reaped the rewards of a surge in Internet use and an "interior boom" since it was established five years ago. Although a significant portion of sales come from its catalog and Internet divisions, its physical manifestation has long since drawn design enthusiasts into the heart of this otherwise apparel-oriented district.
In April, though, this odd juxtapositioning rose to a whole new level of glaring incongruity, with the unveiling of hhstyle/casa next to its existing store. A mammoth Tadao Ando-designed stealth bomber-style black box, it stands in stark contrast to its neighbors in terms of surface texture, scale, color and contents.
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