Leica Ginza

Hisao Suzuki

This is the first flagship shop in the world for Leica camera. My first thought was that the shop should not be simply a showcase for beautiful photography and the precision equipment employed in its creation, but that there should be an opportunity here to create a very attractive urban space where people visits and uses as daily space, just like boutiques, coffee shops and bookstores.

The showroom and the main stairway of the space are arranged parallel to the facade of the first floor, which is composed of highly transparent glass. For the gallery on the second floor, translucent glass printed with a dot pattern is hung parallel to the facade to control the view from inside. Photographs on display can be installed on this translucent surface, and the result is an exhibition that floats against a background where you could see and feel the city of Tokyo itself, showcasing the city beyond in a manner that recalls the 35mm “documentary” photographic style for which Leica is famous. You may say that photographic “reality” is layered on the “real city” of Tokyo.

As objects, Leica cameras are emblematic of 20th century modernism. Therefore, the shop similarly reflects classic 20th century space concept by emphasizing a fundamental aspect of the 20th century design: “Composition” The rectangular surfaces and minimal volumes float in the space. However, each element that “composes” the space is finished with a material that lends it a delicate reality, transmitting to the space a quality that is both abstract and tactile, and consequently, fresh.

For this shop, I wanted to bring a timeless material quality to this space, because this is a shop for Leica. So, I chose a material palette that would likewise endure: glass, stone, metal, cloth and acrylic, as well as materials well known for their modern quality, like iron and aluminum. With these materials, I tried to create a finish that would be unique.
Recently, I’ve finally come to understand that the meaning of this project for Leica stems from my respect for 20 centuries worth of design and ideas.