Herzog & de Meuron Basel Ltd.
4056 Basel, Switzerland
People want to be regarded as individuals, more than simply customers. Similarly, shops and hotels want to see their individuality expressed. Conversations with Prada began in 1998 regarding their plans to develop new ideas about shopping, storage, production, office space and cosmetics. Over the years we worked with them on a number of projects. The first realized shop was the Prada flagship store in Tokyo – a vertical glass house that allows an immediate perception of the full interior from the outside. Its condensed footprint leaves room for a public space on street level in this densely built-up city. Inside, clothes and accessories are displayed in light-flooded, open spaces. Over a decade later, we designed a very different, but no less emblematic building for the Miu Miu label just across the street. A simple metal box contains a vibrant and whimsically crafted jewel box interior. For Uniqlo Tokyo, we chose to radically strip back an existing building, open up the interior and create a central atrium to visually connect all levels. The raw concrete structure and carefully designed technical installations form the backdrop against which functional, well-made yet affordable clothing is staged.
Our designs for the hospitality sector, too, focus on bringing out the core of a brand and the uniqueness of a place. Be it a mountain station in the Swiss Alps or an urban setting, we create worlds that convey a specific, individual sense of wellbeing instead of the anonymity of travel. The Volkshaus Basel Hotel was massively altered in the 1970s and 80s, leaving little trace of the original substance. Through a careful search for traces and a lot of love for detail, the Volkshaus now expresses the spirit of its early days in the 1920s, without any literal reconstruction. For the Public Hotel in New York, we developed a cosy, warm and unique guest room on a very small footprint, and on a tight budget. The public areas offer a diverse array of facilities, making for a very lively and contemporary atmosphere. Further hospitality projects are currently under development in Switzerland and Northern Italy.