Daikanyama T-Site is Tokyo’s shrine to the printed page.
VAULT surveys the site and its impact on the community.

By Joanna Kawecki AUG 2014

Ask any friend in Tokyo to nominate their favourite bookstore and you’ll hear a commonly repeated recommendation. Daikanyama T-Site is a new retail complex erected in late 2011 in the quiet yet fashionable central Tokyo locale of Daikanyama. Nestled between the bustling Shibuya and comparative calm of Nakameguro, the store has helped redefine its location for locals and visitors alike, and become a beacon for the printed form in the process.

It might be surprising to see a prominent bookstore flourishing in the context of increased online sales and troublesome times for traditional retail. T-Site hasn’t merely embraced the notion of the physical retail experience, it’s also helping redefine it, bravely embracing analogue culture from the ground up – published materials that you can browse, sample and spend a whole day amongst.

Somewhat surprisingly, T-Site is in fact part of a much larger, traditional retail chain, Tsutaya, known for its iconic yellow and blue identity. But T-Site operates on a different level, creating a space that acts more like a cultural facility and understands the profit in customer satisfaction as opposed to the short-term balance sheet.

With striking interior design and visual communication systems, the space is welcoming and easy to navigate both visually and physically. It comes as little surprise that the space and concept was the progeny of three cultural leaders. Famed architect, designer and ‘space producer’ Tomoko Ikegai led the overall creative concept, with Kenya Hara of MUJI fame handling the store’s communication design, and... Subscribe to read this article in full

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