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Designed byJun Mitsui & Associates Inc. Architects in 2008, the Glass Cubes shopping center is one of the most architecturally exiting shopping centers I’ve seen.

Apparently the client (the H&M) desired the building to be open, but the architects chose colder and more “classic” look, a building with certain attitude in an ever-changing fashion district of Harajuku.

Click images to enlarge

Event thought it is not extremely hight building (by definition mid-rise only), in my opinion it is shaped as a perfect skyscraper. I see it as something from the early visions of Metropolis, very urbane, cold, but fresh and clean at the same time. Well (pardon the pun), it is cool.

The Ice Cubes does stand out with its seemingly feather light enamelled glass façade. The fritted or enamelled glass façade also prevents overheating, making the building more environment friendly (it’s even labelled as eco-building).

Also the solution applied to the façade is not very common: to avoid greenish looks of the glass the enamel pattern was used on the exterior of the glass.

I do believe it is one of the better designs(and implementations) to be seen around in the area.

These photos were taken at the exhibition and shop “To Declare” in the Old Customs Warehouse. The building itself is worth mentioning as it has just been brought back to life for cultural events and exhibitions. Helsinki Design Week was one of the first use after 40 or more years. It is an excellent example of reuse and change of function, however some things like sanitary will have to be installed inside some day.

click to enlarge

After enjoying the exhibition, especially the useful objects, I had a pleasure to listen to a presentation of a book in Finish and I decided not to take a copy – too much of corporate flavour or just too few pictures in it.

Later, rather unexpectedly, architect Carolina Bueno, partner at Triptyque Architecture gave a lecture and presented her works. She was full of energy and inspirational.

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