Here's the first in a planned series of posts where we ask design people to share their favorite places worldwide.
The Apartment's Stefan Boublil - pictured above - has just returned from a whirlwind business trip to Tokyo. Before he left we asked him to document the (albeit tiny) leisure part of his trip and come back with his Top5 favorite places. So he gave us six. Here they are with his comments, with more after the jump:
the kurage restaurant part of the tokyo wonder site and situated in the shibuya worker's welfare hall, this art café and shop is waaayy funner than detroit's automobile union cafeteria! in the center of youngville, you will not only eat the best avocado and raw tuna dish you can buy, you'll also be able to ogle the boys and girls of the shopping district.
the cathedral st. mary's as if a spaceship had landed in a residential neighborhood, kenzo tange's masterpiece, aluminum-clad on the outside and bunker-grade concrete on the inside, this monument to christ is all i need to convert. ok, fine, not quite... but the sense of awe that you get from merely standing in its gut is frighteningly powerful.
the graphic city not to cliché-out about calligraphy but it seems as if the discipline needed to write down the language has given the japanese a built-in sense of composition and layout. uniforms, signs, packaging, all of it is so pleasing to the eye. everywhere you look seems intended, considered. you can pretty much point you camera anywhere and the lines will connect.
the prada building i have longed to see the herzog & de meuron take on frivolity for as long as i can remember. and i was not disappointed. as much as it will seem difficult to fathom. the building actually gets out of the way of the brand and its products. much more so than anything rem koolhaas has done or is doing. this building lives.
the subway feeling like darth vader barging in on princess leia's "diplomatic mission to alderaan," the tokyo subway is clean as a whistle. if you had asked me to pick a color for a subway system, white would not have been my first go-to. yet, for the japanese, no sweat. the don't eat in the streets or chew gum in public, apparently, hence no need for garbage cans or worry that the environment will get dirty.
the asahi beer hall philippe stark's addition to the tokyo skyline adds a bit of poetry to the severe lines around it. overlooking the river, it is a great place to have lunch with your fellow salarymen.