The Japanese brand Marcomonde represents a sophisticated blend of fashion, design, and culture — so why wouldn’t you expect their first retail space to be an eclectic mix of their carefully curated clothing combined with evocative minimalist elements?
Located in the trendy, architecturally stunning department store PARCO (itself located in Tokyo’s Shibuya district), the company tapped Toronto-based design firm UUfie to create a stunning design concept to showcase their fashion-forward brand.
UUfie is no stranger to exciting, eclectic, minimalist design. Their past projects have yielded connective, almost visceral architectural experiences made to be as awe-inspiring as they are thought-provoking. And the Marcomonde space is no exception. Eye-catching and unique, sparse and angular, its seeming contradictions are both intriguing and inspiring. Here, the minimalist elements are almost futuristic in their simplicity, with a stark palette of industrial grays and whites beautifully accentuating the retailer’s bright and colorful clothes and accessories The final result is a store that also feels like an immersive work of art – a place where the shopper is both a participant and an admirer.
But that’s not the only eye-catching element to this new space. In another section, artfully arranged freestanding stairs climb upward, drawing the eye and giving the room a strong sculptural vibe that is aesthetically sparse yet pleasing. Anyone familiar with the works of the Dutch artist M.C. Escher will appreciate the similarity between this design concept and the artist’s famed work “Relativity.” In that piece, Escher focused on creating a work that looked beyond the ordinary, explored hidden realities, and challenged physical laws like gravity. In the Marcomonde store, you can find all those concepts echoed and lovingly recreated through UUfie’s chosen design elements.
The similarities don’t stop there. As Escher’s print delves beneath the surface of things, so too do the stairs in the Marcomonde space. So much more than a place to display product, UUfie’s stairs are functional, not frivolous. Deceptively hollow, they’re also ideal for storage — keeping the space clutter-free and sparse to maximize the impact of the pieces on display.
The industrial look is not only present in the space’s color scheme, but also in its shelving choices. The combination of stainless steel frames and clear glass shelves creates an almost chrome-like appearance that mirrors the space’s aesthetic perfectly.
Even better, the retail space also fits beautifully with the overall look of PARCO’s design concept, making it the ideal location for the brand to integrate fashion, art, culture, food, technology, and entertainment all into an architectural retail marvel. The Shibuya PARCO’s clean lines, creative balance, and inventive design choices are all echoed in Marcomonde’s exciting new space.
No one understands the impact of design built upon both connection and abstraction better than UUfie. The small 215 square-foot retail space is minimalistic, stark, and artful, evoking the angular geometry of M.C. Escher, while the industrial color scheme and futuristic simplicity of the racks and shelves further emphasize the bright and beautiful merchandise. The overall effect is hypnotic, and one sure to keep shoppers coming back for a long time to come.
Marcomonde Shibuya images courtesy of Takumi Ota