Capital Hill

1 minute read
Jean Snow

Tokyo developer Minoru Mori doesn’t shy away from big projects. Coming swiftly in the wake of his successful Roppongi Hills development is the massive Omotesando Hills ( retail and residential complex, designed by Tadao Ando, the Japanese architect famous for his grand public buildings.Despite the plain concrete exteriors that are a staple of his work, Ando has managed to pay homage to the old apartment buildings the development has controversially replaced, with one section not only resembling the original facades, but also including a gallery of photographs of what was there before. Inside the complex, a wide spiraling incline takes shoppers on a tour of luxe fashion and lifestyle boutiques. Cafs and restaurants abound, and if you’re patient enough to brave the queues, Mist’s upscale take on the traditional ramen shop makes for a delightful stop. Vague attempts have been made to cast Omotesando in an eco-friendly mold (there’s a barrage of greenery and free bicycle parking within), but the eye is only briefly fooled: in the end, this is an icon of big-city consumerism, and an authentic taste of Tokyo’s hypermodern retail landscape.

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