(Paris, 31 August 2002) – Louis Vuitton – part of LVMH – Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton – today announces the opening of its biggest building for the house of Louis Vuitton on Omotesando Avenue, Tokyo, the most vibrant avenue in the Japanese capital. The opening of this exceptional store is a key event from two viewpoints. Commercially, this new place represents the exceptional success of Louis Vuitton, became an icon brand and a symbol of French savoir-faire. In Japan, the world’s leading luxury market, Louis Vuitton’s success has been supreme, having doubled its presence in 10 years, to reach 44 stores today, 7 of which are global stores. The opening at Omotesando is Louis Vuitton’s seventh global store in Japan. It is the crowning glory of the immense success of its products, prêt-à-porter, leather goods, footwear and soon the Tambour watch, with its Japanese clientele. Louis Vuitton, which has almost 300 stores globally and which is synonymous with the very highest quality leather products in the world, will intensify its development by increasing its presence in all luxury markets and broadening its ” territory ” with today’s launch of the Tambour watch at Omotesando. Artistically and architecturally: designed by the Japanese architect Jun Aoki and created by Eric Carlson and David Mac Nulty, directors of Louis Vuitton’s Department of Architecture, the building is the highpoint of a remarkable aesthetic process. From Nagoya to Sapporo in Japan, the architecture of the most recent buildings of Louis Vuitton stems from one core element : the trunk. Without breaking away from classical norms which, since its foundation in 1854 have secured the global renown of this celebrated French luxury house, the architects have reinterpreted this signature element, as Pierre Chareau did before them with glass slabs on rue Saint-Guillaume in Paris, Frank Lloyd Wright with bricks in Chicago and Frank Gerhy with titanium in Bilbao. The building, set between a church and an apartment block, has a façade 21 m wide. 30m high, it has ten floors, two of which are in the basement. Its 3 340 m2 surface area is split into five ” trunks ” positioned one against the other but also overlapping through a subtle and complex use of space. 9OO m2 are devoted to the store, 34O m2 to space for priority clients and exhibition space for the permanent display of 25 masterpieces of the heritage of the House. A false impression of random formation of piles The five volumes, designed like trunks with different dimensions, echo with their facades the historic cloth which has covered the trunks throughout the development of the House of Louis Vuitton. By being piled up, with an appearance of being random the trunks respond to true architectural necessity. Through this impression of overlapping, each level benefits from interior views onto the lower and upper levels surrounding. This double height, added to the interpenetration of the volumes makes the whole edifice even more dynamic. An exceptional voyage – the exhibition of the Louis Vuitton heritage As testimony to the importance of this new house of Louis Vuitton on Omotesando, twenty-five masterpieces from the Louis Vuitton museum in Asnières have travelled to Japan. They will be permanently displayed in the exhibition room on the fifth floor. The walls of this part of the building are covered with a coating resembling the first striped cloth of the LV trunks, to mid-height. The architect Jun Aoki Born in 1956 in Yokohama, Japan, Jun Aoki was chosen from a competition to build the Louis Vuitton ” global store ” in Nagoya in 1999. The following year, he designed the exterior of a Louis Vuitton boutique in Ginza, Tokyo. Having graduated from Tokyo University, he worked for seven years with the great post-modern Japanese architect Arata Isozaki. Since then, he has created numerous buildings, most importantly the Mamihara Bridge (1995), the Museum of the Fukushima lagoon and the swimming pool close to it (1997), and several large private houses.