We visit Cartier’s new Japanese headquarters designed by I IN

Cartier’s Japanese headquarters: a harmonious interpretation of the brand

The Tokyo studio I IN designs the brand new Japanese headquarters of Cartier

Cartier’s freshly renovated Japanese headquarters in Tokyo’s Hanzomon district is not only an elegant and understated masterpiece, the project is also an understated case study in how a brand’s visual identity can be effectively channeled into something as everyday as an office space.

For Tokyo-based studio I IN, the specific challenge was to create a framework for Cartier staff to feel and touch the brand’s identity on a subliminal level. “How could we bring the essence of luxury with which Cartier is associated into its workspace? asked studio founders Yohei Terui and Hiromu Yuyama. The solution was to deploy a careful mix of colors, specially commissioned textiles and lighting – both natural and artificial – in the open space.

Red, a color long associated with Cartier, appears in strategic places – in the sumptuous circular sofa in the foyer, sheathed in Kvadrat fabric; in the raised platform covered with tatami mats whose piping was created by Kyoto Hosoo craftsmen; and as accents in the staff locker room. Champagne gold, another Cartier trademark, appears in floor-to-ceiling vertical louver panels; plush rugs woven by Yamagata Dantsu, one of Japan’s oldest rug suppliers; jewelry table stands; abstract chandeliers and wall art; and even in the metal bands of an oversized central office.

On every metric, the mood board is decidedly luxurious, including a harmonious rendition of a French brand overlaid with a quiet Japanese presence. And with invigorating wooded views of the Imperial Palace Gardens, to boot.

It’s not a feat. As Terui and Yuyama point out, office spaces tend to be highly functional with limited scope to express a brand’s identity. But as the duo’s work at Cartier’s Japanese headquarters shows, an imaginatively designed office can also allow its staff “to feel and touch the identity of the brand every day on a deeper level.” §

About Walter J. Leslie

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