The luxury brands have broadened their horizons by creating a natural combination of luxury and conviviality
We live in a world with high demands and expectations. The desire to want something different and exclusive - no longer just objects or clothing - has generated a new trend: the pursuit of experience. To tease their customers, the luxury brands have broadened their horizons by creating a natural combination of luxury and conviviality. In fact, in recent years, numerous restaurants, clubs, and cafes have been created by luxury marques. Complemented by excellent marketing work, they focus on one cornerstone of everyday life: socialization.
The Pioneer of this new trend was Giorgio Armani. In 1998 he opened the doors of his first restaurant in Paris (the first of twenty in the world). From Paris to Milan, Dubai to Tokyo, the "Giorgio Armani" and "Emporio Armani" restaurants and cafes convey the style and elegance that have always distinguished the Italian brand.
I always wanted the Armani brand to become an expression of style as a lifestyle, of sophisticated simplicity as a sign of elegance in every field, and food that is one of the most important elements of everyday life could not be missing.
In 2007 Giorgio Armani landed in Tokyo with the Armani Ginza Tower. Designed by the Italian architect Massimiliano Fuksas, the tower includes the stores Giorgio Armani and Emporio Armani, Armani Casa, Armani Dolci and Beauty, Armani Ristorante, and Lounge Bar. Located respectively on the 10th and 11th floors of the Armani Ginza Tower, the restaurant and the Lounge Bar have been designed in perfect coherence with the Armani style. An evocative environment with bright, transparent, delicate colors, accompanied by a unique selection of materials. Every detail plays a fundamental role. Seats in "Armani" blue and black painted wooden tables - with a cavity containing a gold leaf and golden lamps - stand out in an environment characterized by slabs of Italian marble in "Armani" black. One of the elements that represent both environments - the Restaurant and the Lounge Bar - is the steel walls with a brushed gold finish, perforated with the bamboo leaf motif, which recalls the concept of the tower facade.
In the wake of this enormous success, other luxury brands - Bulgari, Gucci, Chanel, Dior, Tiffany, and more - have embarked on this adventure. Ralph Lauren, for example, opens his first Ralph's Coffee & Bar in New York. New openings followed it in London, Paris, Milan, and Chicago. In 2018 it arrived in Tokyo.
Ralph's Coffee in Omotesando - decorated with emerald green and white colors, leather chairs, geometric tile floors, and gold details - recreates the atmosphere of a classic London venue. In 2021 a new concept store opened in Tokyo: Ralph's Coffee in Ginza. Structured on two levels, the ground floor is divided into three different areas: bar/shop/garden. Upon entering the building on the main street of Ginza, a green bar counter and a spectacular coffee machine welcome the customers. An AR Snap generates a lovely "POLO BEAR In the House" that virtually roams the store. Crossing the bar, you will find a space dedicated to customizing the classic "Polo Ralph Lauren." Then you will reach an outdoor space, a lawn decorated with green and white rattan umbrellas and chairs that recreate a pleasant and relaxing atmosphere.
Even the French brand Louis Vuitton is not immune to this latest trend. In fact, in 2020, it opened its first restaurant and bar in Osaka. The building - designed by architects Jun Aoki and Peter Marino - evokes the sails of Japanese merchant ships. In 2021, supported by the same architects, Louis Vuitton inaugurated a new building in Ginza with Le Cafè V on the top floor. Here, bright and brilliant colors welcome the customers. Blue seats and curved walls, decorated with light wallpapers, frame the ceiling decorated with hanging elements, which give a sense of lightness. Many noteworthy elements include furnishings, objects, and works of art: the Bulbo armchair by Campana Brothers, the Spiral lamp by Atelier oï, and the Diamond Mirror by Marcel Wanders. Another fascinating element is the conical wall that contains the bar counter, characterized by shelves nested in the curvature that emanate a soft light. Observing the inside of the cone, an inebriating sensation overwhelms the visitor.
Luxury brands with their shops, pop-ups, temporary shops, restaurants, and cafes never cease to surprise us. Who knows what they will invent again, in what adventure they will lead us? I can't wait to find out!