Gleam and glamour
The scaffolding has come off Cartier’s flagship boutique in Japan and what has been unveiled is a jewel in itself. Located in Ginza with a surface space of 10,764 square feet, the renovated building fuses the spirit of the original Cartier boutique in Rue de la Paix, Paris with the sophisticated edge of Japanese modernism.
First, the facade. Designed by Paris-based architect Sylvain Dubuisson, the lower section of the building is a reimagination of the Paris flagship boutique, all dark brown and orange granite married with a platinum-coloured metal lattice for contemporary edge. Above this homage to pedigree is a more abstract take, with Dubuisson using irregular rectangular slits across the upper floor exteriors to suggest Japanese shoji screens and wood cuts, reminiscent of the sugi cedar, Japan’s national tree. In the day, the building exudes a wooden warmth while in the evening, it gleams warmly from the interior, fittingly, like a jewellery box.
The interiors were masterminded by Bruno Moinard, who spread tributes to Cartier’s history and its association with Japan across the four retail levels. Beginning with high jewellery on the ground floor, then ascending to men’s watches, diamonds and fashion, Moinard’s design has a richness of a grand mansion on Avenue Foch and the simple purity of Japan’s shibui aesthetic. Scaling the mansion is an exercise in gradiation; the brightness of the ground floor giving way to shaded, more opulent hues. Uniting the space are common elements contributed by the finest French and Italian artisans, including chandeliers by Venice’s Barovier & Toso, lacquer from Atelier Midavaine, gold gilding by Atelier Gohard and stone by Signature Murale.