Unusual retail spaces – Part one: Swimming Pool clothes shop

22nd January 2015

This week we’re taking a look at some unusual retail spaces from across the globe – where non-traditional spaces have been re-purposed and used for selling traditional items.

First off we’re heading to Tokyo to look at a swimming pool clothes shop. That’s not clothes for swimming – but a clothes shop in an empty swimming pool…Situated in an apartment building in one of Tokyo’s wealthiest districts this 1970s pool and recreational area used to contain apartment block residents swimming up and down, but since falling into misuse, it has now been redeveloped into a very chic, fashionable clothes store.

Photo by Clark Street Mercantile on Unsplash

Photo by Clark Street Mercantile on Unsplash

Aoyama Pool opened its doors last April and is named after the swimming pool that used to occupy the space. The store was developed by designer Nobuo Araki and fashion guru Hiroshi Fujiwara, who wanted to keep the space as authentic as possible. Although some areas of the space were reconstructed during the development process, they managed to preserve the spirit of the pool by retaining many of it’s vintage features and providing a ‘raw’ aesthetic throughout the retail space.

The store floor is constructed from glass, which recreates a feeling of water, topped with clothes rails designed to resemble the pools original holding pipes. The walls are left unpainted, giving a classy, postmodern feel – and even the old pool ladder has been given a new lease of life as a design feature.

The Aoyama Pool fitting rooms were adapted from the former toilet cubicles and the whole place sports an achingly cool look and feel with it’s mixture of old features and new architecture in a space that looks like a backdrop to a fashion shoot.

One of the drawbacks of the store is that it isn’t very conspicuous – it’s so cool you wouldn’t even know it was there – and the entrance is very easy to miss. Take a look a this photo of the way in and you’ll see what we mean! However it is a stunning example of ecological architecture, where the neglected space has been embraced and enhanced. It would be great to see more of this kind of retail design in the UK.