Free People

Tokyo, Japan | 4,100 sq ft. | 2013

Services: Architecture

After designing 15 award winning stores for Anthropologie, EOA was engaged to design the first store outside of the United States for Free People, another Urban Outfitters brand. This store is the Tokyo flagship and is located in the heart of the Harajuku shopping district. The challenge was to convert a cavernous, cold and dark concrete building into a warm and more tactile environment that reflected the brand’s bohemian spirit. The transformation included sheathing the entire building in white washed wood and bringing the scale of the building down to the pedestrian by integrating sliding steel and glass doors and plantings at street level. Entry is through an intimate side garden with trees illuminated in white lights or along the street and down a curving natural wood staircase. Warmth and texture is brought to the interior with natural wood beams, flooring, fixtures and patchwork fabric. An enormous double height space is activated by white wooden trusses, creating a framework for merchandising elements and filtering the light from skylights above. The second level mezzanine holds yoga classes and private events and has a view overlooking the main floor of the store through the trusses, integrating the two levels visually and with the texture of the brand. The store is filled with unique objects, hand stenciled textures and string art, all to infuse the space with the Free People spirit. This dramatic transformation, designed by EOA, has created a store that has become a major destination and a place to play, linger and shop.