This is not Snarkitecture’s first rodeo. The New York design firm has created 10 projects with Kith, the footwear and apparel brand founded almost a decade ago by Queens, New York native Ronnie Fieg. It even designed the signage. So when it came time to envision the company’s first international flagship – in Tokyo – the ideas were already in place. So Snarkitecture decided to (literally) elevate them.
To that end, the most vivid motif of this ongoing collaboration – plaster-cast Nikes – shows up as a bold canopy. An array of Air Force 1s, which are very popular in Japan, clad the vaulted ceiling of the two-storey shop’s first floor. The white-cast covers will be familiar to Kith shoppers who’ve seen iterations at the New York, Miami, Brooklyn, Los Angeles and London stores. The aesthetic will also resonate with admirers of Snarkitecture co-founder Daniel Arsham’s art works and installations that literally re-cast familiar objects and surfaces into singular pieces.
At Kith Tokyo, the fantastic feature ceiling is made even more rarified by the interior’s embrace of high-end materials: a gradient of shimmering Bisazza tiles that clads the archways, stainless steel millwork and custom glass vitrines as well as herringbone floors crafted from Carrara marble. The high–low quotient, exemplified by contrasting plaster with marble, is finely calibrated throughout the shop.
Upstairs, meanwhile, the kids’ area features those same materials in a more playful context. Inlaid into the marble flooring are pastel-hued references to the Kith logo that also recall alphabet blocks. Plush, purple-upholstered benches make this a friendly space, while the Kith Treats cafe – serving up cereal and ice cream – makes the entire retail experience downright joyful.
For the athletic apparel brand’s first international flagship, Snarkitecture refreshes a fun trope – plaster-cast Nikes – for a new take on an energetic retail aesthetic.