The Bank

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I’m not sure if I already new about The Bank or not — a bar located in a space near Yokohama that previously housed a bank — but it’s great to hear that it has re-opened, and it’s a spot I’d love to check out someday. Interesting to hear that it was Masamichi Katayama’s first project after founding his Wonderwall studio (back in 2000). Read more about it in this Spoon & Tamago post.

Blue Bottle Coffee Nakameguro Cafe

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Not only has Blue Bottle Coffee opened up a new cafe in Tokyo — in Nakameguro no less — but it was designed by one of my favorite studios, Schemata Architects. They’ve posted plenty of photos that show off the interior, which on top of the cafe includes space for offices and a training area.

PKN at TDW 2016

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I’m sure we’ll soon get a full album of photos, but here’s the big traditional crowd shot that was taken at last week’s annual Tokyo Design Week edition of PechaKucha Night. Since leaving Tokyo, it’s always bittersweet for me to see these, as our TDW event was always one of the big highlights of the year, and I have quite a few memories of dealing with all of the extra work that goes into producing an event like this — compared to the monthly events at SuperDeluxe that are a cakewalk in comparison — as well as being in the back and running the slides on a laptop, with presenters coming in last minute to request changes or to fix something. Good times.

Ginza Place

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The latest project from my former employer (and good friends) Klein Dytham Architects is a gorgeous one, and takes the form of the brand new Ginza Place building in Ginza, which hosts swanky new showrooms for Nissan and Sony. It opened today. Here’s how KDa’s Mark Dytham describes the project:

Our latest project, Ginza Place, opens to the public tomorrow. Located on one of the most iconic corners in the world, the Ginza 4-Chome crossing. Klein Dytham architecture in partnership with Taisei Corporation were responsible for the facade design and the overall massing of this new 11 storey building.

The facade, made from 5315 individual aluminium panels reflects the craftsmanship and quality which is synonymous with Ginza and JapanThe project massing takes its cues from the historic Wako building opposite with it’s clear horizontal banding which allow balconies on the 3rd and 7th floors to have unprecedented views of Ginza, Chuo Dori and Harumi Dori.

Ginza Place is a gateway to the re-birth of Ginza and has already become a new landmark for Tokyo and Japan ready for the build up to the Tokyo 2020 Olympics. The building is home to Nissan and Sony’s new global flagship showrooms and 5 restaurants and cafes.

You’ll find a few renderings in this Spoon & Tamago post, and we can expect to see more photos soon.

Also Soup Stock Tokyo

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I’ve always quite liked the Soup Stock Tokyo chain — serving mostly nicely compact soup dishes — and now they’ve opened a new more restaurant-like (less fast-food) shop in Jiyugaoka called simply enough Also Soup Stock Tokyo, with a menu that is a bit more full featured. From all the photos found in this Spoon & Tamago post, it looks like a beautiful space. The design is by Yuko Nagayama.

Changes to Harajuku Station

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Harajuku station certainly is iconic in its own way — I still remember enjoying working across the street from it, in full view, when I was editor at PingMag. A recent Monocle Minute newsletter has an update on what’s likely to happen when it gets renovated in time for 2020.

Tens of thousands of people pass through Harajuku Station’s portals each day and now the current structure, which dates from 1924, is set to be renovated in time for the 2020 Olympics. The distinctive Tokyo landmark, which sits next to Meiji Shrine and one of Tokyo’s busiest fashion districts, comes close to a standstill at weekends – and its proximity to Yoyogi National Gymnasium, built for the 1964 Olympics and due to be a venue in 2020, only adds to the crowds. The station’s owner, East Japan Railway Co, is being careful not to reveal too much about its plans for the popular old building but it has published a design proposal: a functional structure that will increase capacity with room for retail but that is lacking in charisma. Local residents are being consulted later this month but the future doesn’t look promising for this small Tokyo gem.

Tomoyuki Tanaka

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I can’t believe it. The image you see here (of Shibuya station, from this Architizer post) was drawn first by pencil, and then pen, by Tomoyuki Tanaka. He has created these massive and insanely detailed works for various stations, and they’re currently on show at the “Doboku Civil Engineering” exhibition at 21_21 Design Sight.

House Vision 2

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It’s too late to take in the “House Vision 2” exhibition (it ended this past Sunday) but you can still experience some of the highlights courtesy of this Japan Times piece, written by Mio Yamada, who was the last editor of my “On Design” column (and who continues to write it now). The exhibition offered a look at what future homes could be like, with designs by renowned architects.

Airbnb’s Tokyo Office

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A new post on Designboom showcases the beautiful new Tokyo offices of Airbnb, produced with Suppose Design Office. Despite the news we hear of Airbnb having some legal issues in Japan — or even just not being welcomed by residents who dislike seeing their neighbors rent out their spaces — it seems like the company is doing quite well in Japan. On a personal note, it was always great to have them partner up with PechaKucha, especially for our annual PechaKucha Pow Wow, a summit that brings PechaKucha Night organizers to Tokyo for a few days of sharing — Airbnb Japan provided discounts to these organizers.

Global PechaKucha Day – Inspire Japan

If you’ve been to the front page of this site sometime this week (I have to assume that many of you reading this in your feed reader), then more than likely you’ve noticed the giant banner I have there now. It’s for the big Global PechaKucha Day – Inspire Japan event I’ve been working on over the past few weeks, set to happen this Saturday (April 16). I alluded to it in a recent post, but if you don’t know about it, it’s a big charity event we’ve put together, bringing together the PechaKucha community — we’re 404 cities strong, as of this writing — for a day/night of events all over the world, with the goal of raising funds for reconstruction efforts in Japan. As with last year for Haiti, we’re teaming up with Architecture for Humanity.

The core of the event is on Saturday, with a whole bunch of cities holding PKNs, and a lot of them will be streaming live as well — just go to the Inspire Japan site on the day of the event, and whatever is currently streaming live should be up at the top of the site. But our Inspire Japan efforts will also span all of April and May, and we’re inviting organizers of all PKNs during this period to collect donations — because this all came together so suddenly, many cities were not able to re-schedule already planned events, and some just found it difficult to organize something on the 16th.

Here in Tokyo, instead of our regular home of SuperDeluxe, the event will be held at the Roppongi Hills Tokyo City View (52nd floor), with doors opening at 17:00, and presentations starting at 18:00 (it should run until around 21:30 or so). Entry will be a minimum donation of 1000 yen — you’re of course welcome to leave more. To access the event, you’ll need to go to the 3rd floor to get a free ticket to get to the top, and we’ll have signs there to point you to the event space (where you’ll pay the entry fee).

This will also be the first time I present in quite a while — I only presented once at a PechaKucha Night, 3-4 years ago at a special Tokyo Design Week edition with my friend Jesper (it was about the Swedish Style event we had organized at Cafe Pause). This time, I’ll be teaming with Ian, who is responsible for all of the Inspire Japan graphics you’ve been seeing. The presentation will pretty much be about design efforts to raise money for Japan aid, based on that post I started a few days after the quake, as well as the follow-up I did in last month’s edition of my “On Design” column for The Japan Times. For his part of the presentation, Ian will cover the projects he worked on to help raise awareness and collect donations.

The event should be amazing — I mean, you can’t really beat that view — and you’ll also be contributing to reconstruction efforts, so I urge you all to come and support us. Also, if you’d like to help spread the word, feel free to get and use Inspire Japan banners and ads that Ian created, as well as a very cool (and workable) QR code that SET Japan designed for us.