July 25, 2004

H&dM Prada

'As Toyo Ito puts it: "one of the fairly major changes of contemporary architecture, the discovery of a new materiality, through extraordinary preoccupation with surfaces" (5). There are coincidences also on the negative side. Some fashion critics have described Prada's designs as a minimalist reinvention of the seventies style, while the architectural counterparts describe H&dM's projects as the minimalist, abstract updates of Robert Venturi's "decorated shed".

'Another theoretical reference, Semper's archetypical explanation of the origin of the wall as a cloth that hangs between two poles, is brought upon very often by architectural authors to anchor the design attitude of H&dM's. Their preoccupation with architectural surfaces, mainly facades, is used for criticizing the little interest of the interior spaces in their projects. In principle, it seems that the project for Prada would have been the perfect commission to deepen their personal epithelial experimentation.'

'However, the architects produced their most three-dimensional building to date, where their particular definition of "firmitas" as stability though complex multi-sensorial impressions is explored until the last consequences. Whereas the redefinition of the shopping experience in the case of OMA's shop in New York rests mainly in the "digital" interaction among customers, radio frequency identified items, and ubiquitous screens, H&dM's project for Tokyo presents a highly tactile, more than visual, one-to-one phenomenological catalogue, faithful to the "analog" definition of "architecture for the senses" that has guided their practice.'

from arch'it files

Another commentary on Prada on V-2.org. This one's a critique of Rem Koolhaas OMA's NYC Prada. Read for yourself which Prada works best. Although Prada in Aoyama still has room for improvement (and perhaps only functions and sustains its surfaces so beautifully in Tokyo Japan--where things are better taken care of in general), I've already made my vote.

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