Just For Me
Vending machines are a Japanese obsession. If it exists, its probably
available in a Japanese vending machine. Everything imaginable, from soft
drinks and instant noodles to train tickets and magazines not to mention
live beetles and worn knickers is stocked in one of the countrys 5.6
million automated dispensers. Inspired by this phenomenon, Gwenael Nicolas
of Curiosity used it in his retail concept for Issey Miyakes new fashion
statement: me. In the Matsya department store in the Ginza (Tokyo), a
diminutive shop-in-a-shop less than 20 metres square features a Perspex wall
that looks like an oversize vending machine. Its contents are stretchy,
brightly coloured tops packaged in plastic (PET) tubes. The vending-machine
metaphor emphasises the mass-produced aspect of Miyakes new design. Thanks
to the extreme elasticity of the fabric, the one-size-only top fits
virtually every woman. These items are prepackaged at the factory, and the
see-through tube, another Nicolas design, has a large screw top and an
embossed, transparent logo. In the shop, a diagonally positioned rack holds
sample tops, which the client can try on in a fold-out fitting cubicle.
Having made her choice, she removes a tube from the transparent wall, which
disperses its contents one at a time. Ultra-bright lighting has a dazzling
effect on the fluorescent details of the clothing. A small recess in the
round counter keeps the tube from rolling away while the customer pays. In
this compact shop, every square centimetre counts.
Carolien van Tilburg
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