With so much new, high-profile construction going on in Tokyo, it takes a special building to stand out as truly exceptional.
The Nicolas G. Hayek Center, the new headquarters for Swatch Group Japan (designed by Shigeru Ban) is just such a building. Located in the posh Ginza district and named after the company's founder, the building focuses on Swatch's luxury labels Breguet, Blancpain, Glashütte Original, Jaquet Droz, Léon Hatot, Omega (plus a Swatch presence for the masses) each with its own retail space. Each shop has a hydraulic glass elevator that lifts you directly to the shop's entrance and doubles as a showroom, offering a glimpse of what to expect when it stops and you step out.
Add to that a wide-open exterior lobby and beautiful wall-mounted garden environmentalism is a signature of Ban's work and you end up with a shopping center that's truly ahead of the times. www.swatchgroup.jp
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