Synergy of Excess: Culturalization of Commodity in the Fashion Houses of Tokyo


Published in connection with a William-Kinne Fellowship and Grant from Columbia University

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ABOUTUsing the Ginza and Omotesando sectors of Tokyo we investigated the high-end fashion boutique as a new type of architecture of excess that synthesizes fashion, art, architecture, branding and fame.  The boutiques reveal the quality of excess (i) formally, in their elaborate skins, (ii) via the sensory experiences activated by interaction with the surface envelopes and with the materiality of the interior surfaces; and (iii) via programmatic diversity.  The significance of these boutiques within the discipline of architecture is their denotation of a subtle paradigm shift away from Modernism’s overly intellectualized discourse and design and toward the visceral concept of beauty on which the fashion industry functions.  The shift itself, within the context of architecture related to fashion, evidences a growing relationship between the two disciplines and raises these questions: (i) What is the nature of the relationship; and (ii) Is there a balance of power or a dependency?