Cool Spaces: Louis Vuitton’s First Café

WORDS Steve Smith

Louis Vuitton Maison Osaka Midosuji houses the iconic French fashion brand’s very first café – and a kind-of-hard-to-find restaurant.

The store’s design is a collaboration between architects Jun Aoki and Peter Marino, and reflects Osaka’s heritage as Japan’s most important port.

Jun Aoki, known for his work on a number of Louis Vuitton stores in Japan and around the world (including New York’s 5th Avenue Maison), drew on Osaka’s history as a seafaring city, creating a light, airy white structure inspired by the traditional higaki kaisen cargo ship and its billowing sails.

The top floor optimises its proximity to the sky, with the sun playing off the sea-like terrazzo floor and coloured ceiling decorations.

The airy store breathes the city’s energy while offering clients a sense of calm and respite.

Inside, Peter Marino followed similar inspirations, connecting the store’s four floors to both the maritime feel of the building and to Japanese culture. Wooden floors give the impression of decks, with wood-clad pillars and metal ceilings reminiscent of a grand yacht embarking on an exciting adventure. Traditional materials such as origami washi paper feature throughout.

Located on the top floor of this spectacular new building is Le Café V, with a menu curated by celebrated chef Yosuke Suga, whose Tokyo restaurant Sugalabo was recently listed among the best in the world. Next to Le Café V’s cocktail bar, a hidden speakeasy-style door allows access to the Sugalabo V, also housed within the building. Like its sibling establishment, it’s only accessible to those in the know – the booking process and entrance to this restaurant are closely kept secrets.

Well, sort of…