Friday, March 31, 2006

Tokyo 2006 Part VII: Omotesando Hills

Everytime I come back, Tokyo has a newly redeveloped area. Roppongi Hills in April 2003, Shiodome Sio-site in January 2005, and Omotesando Hills this time.

Omotesando has massively changed during the last couple of years. It is now a "super brand street" where top fashion brands - Dior (see the right photo), Louis Vuitton, Prada, and so forth - all open their fancy-looking stores. Omotesando Hills is the latest addition to the area's drastic metamorphosis.

It is basically a low-rise and long shopping mall, designed by Tadao Ando, with rectangularly circulating slopes allowing visitors to see all the shops without using staircases.

Honestly, it wasn't impressive at all, perhaps because Shiseido's massive ad campaign - featuring as many as six Japanese famous and beautiful actresses (see the photo below) - brought a crimson carpet on the central staircases, destroying the whole atmosphere of Omotesando Hills (see the left photo). But the fact that Omotesando Hills allowed Shiseido to mess up the atmosphere tells me that this place is not serious about how visitors feel. All I felt was that this is a place for rich people - only jewellery shops here tend to have intriguing and fancy decors. How disgusting it is.

I prefer the Ssamjikil shopping mall on Insa-dong of Seoul, which has a similar architectural style. (And everytime I tell this to my Japanese friends, they don't believe this...)


From left, Rena Tanaka, Takako Uehara, Yuko Takeuchi, Yukie Nakama, Ryoko Hirosue, and Arisa Mizuki. To be featured in Shiseido's advertisement gives status for Japanese female celebrities (according to my mother).

1 comment:

Linus said...

Its interesting that you point out Ometesando was uninteresting and "soul-less". I know Mori-san deliberately designed Ropponggi Hills as an irregular structure to resemble small Japanese/European towns with hidden nooks and crannies to encourage exploration and discovery.
I went to see Ark Hills also but had no time for Omotesando. Your reaction is very anti-capitalist!

As for the girls _ I think Ryoko Hirosue has aged so much! If I had my chocie I think I take Takako Uehara,actually her photo is the best takena t 20 degree angle.