Just For Me

Vending machines are a Japanese obsession. If it exists, it’s 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 country’s 5.6
million automated dispensers. Inspired by this phenomenon, Gwenael Nicolas
of Curiosity used it in his retail concept for Issey Miyake’s 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 Miyake’s 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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