"Elegance is the only beauty that never fades" - Audrey Hepburn
Audrey Hepburn's - icon of the 50s and great supporter of Tiffany & Co - fully reflect the foundation of the American brand's style: elegance. Born in New York in 1837 by Charles Lewis Tiffany, the Tiffany brand is a global symbol of style and sophistication.
I remember the first time I walked into the Tiffany store in New York, on Fifth Avenue. It was in 2013, my first trip to the States, and visiting that shop was one of the first things I did in New York. It was a real thrill. The perfect Art Deco style, the Tiffany lamps, the jewels, the sparkle of the diamonds, the iconic Blue Box wrapped in white ribbon, the elegance and style of the whole, made me feel like in a dream. I was in the most beautiful shop in the world. Tiffany & Co, which currently has more than three hundred stores worldwide, hasn't limited itself to just shops and jewels. In 2017, they created the Home & Accessories line, and in the same year, they inaugurated the Blue Box Cafè in New York. Here you can fulfil the dream of imitating Audrey Hepburn in Breakfast's at Tiffany.
Following the enormous success with the Blue Box Cafè, Tiffany@Cat Street was inaugurated in Tokyo in 2019. The name is a tribute to Cat street, home to youth shopping. The Tiffany@Cat Street, the second Tiffany concept cafè in the world, is located in the Bank Gallery in Harajuku, designed by Tadao Ando in 2005. Conceived initially to house Giorgio Armani's interior design collection, over the years the gallery has become a venue for events for various luxury brands. Space is used by Yves Saint Laurent, Chanel, Shu Uemura, Shiseido, Adidas, Rebook, Galaxy and others. Consisting of six cantilevered floors, the Bank Gallery has a truly unique shape. It appears as a black monolith that rises within Cat Street.
The peculiar shape of the building significantly contributed to Tiffany@Cat Street's concept. Entering the shop, you feel like entering in the legendary Tiffany Blue Box. However, you can also notice something different from the usual Tiffany shops: a new dimension and a unique experience welcomes customers. Unlike the typical severity that characterizes the shops composition and furnishings, the new store appears very lively and informal, "outlining an unusual and playful feature of the brand", as also stated by Richard Moore (vice-president of the Global Store Design & Creative Visual Merchandising division of Tiffany & Co.).
The concrete and steel interiors – built in a perfect "Tadao Ando's style" - create an exciting and harmonious contrast with Tiffany's white and blue palette. Five of the six floors house the Tiffany collection, from jewellery to personal and home accessories. The sixth floor is wholly dedicated to the Tiffany Cafè @ Cat Street. The gallery, partially modified in its colors, leaves ample space for the original concrete structure. The Blue Tiffany color is not emphasized too much. Respecting the canons of sobriety and elegance, the environment appears light and dynamic, alternating colors, graphics and different materials.
One of the things that strike the observer the most is the graphics on the fourth floor. This floor, entirely dedicated to jewellery, includes a wall decorated with a characteristic and intriguing pattern. It evokes the T symbol of the "T True" collection - with graphic angles and clean lines - which celebrates the "T" collection's iconic motif. This motif can also be admired on the Tiffany store's facade in Ginza designed by Kengo Kuma in 2008.
A new collection alternates the classic one of the brand. Citing the animal that gives its name to the street, the new logo of Tiffany@Cat Street was created for the occasion: a funny @ symbol with a catlike appearance. On each floor, alternating with displays and adorned shop windows, there are spaces that we can define as instagrammable. They encourage the customers to pose and share this unique experience on social networks. We are not talking about the usual photo booths, but also about new original ideas. One of these is undoubtedly the ring-holder box used as a seat. Creating a piece of furniture using a symbolic element, in order to entertain customers and make them feel like a Tiffany diamond, has no equal.
On the sixth floor of the gallery, you enter the Tiffany Cafè. A cart of Tiffany treats (along with other goodies) and white and blue Tiffany paper flowers welcomes the visitors. An embossed sheet metal wall houses the famous photo of Audrey Hepburn, as she savors her croissant while admiring the jewels in the window of the New York store. Alongside a special dedication by the actress:
"A thing of beauty is a joy forever. That is why the lustre of the art of Tiffany's remains undimmed".
The brand has now opened others Tiffany Blue Box Cafè worldwide: in London, in the Harrods department store; and Hong Kong, in One Peking Road. Who knows what other destinations are still waiting to be overwhelmed by this unforgettable experience?