Roppongi Design and Art Tour #5 "A walking tour to savor Roppongi's tastes and designs"

Roppongi Design and Art Tour #5

photo_ryumon kagioka / text&edit_kentaro inoue & yosuke iizuka

From a gelato shop that excels in bringing out the flavor of ingredients to a small inarizuahi shop nestled in the backstreets, the "6x6 ROPPONGI DESIGN & ART MAP" is filled with must-see shops and artworks in Roppongi selected by 6 units of creators. The map was created as part of Roppongi Future Talks' "Idea Realization Project 02". A walking tour using this map was held for the readers of Roppongi Future Talks. The map is available online and we hope that Web readers will also find it useful.

The map (at the very bottom of the page) can be downloaded at the following site:

The two guides for the tour, who had also participated in making the map, were Azumi Mitsuboshi, design director at "Kami no Kousakujo" - a company which specializes in paper processing and printing - and Jun Kato, who does editorial work for magazines in the genres of architecture, interior, and design.

"Tsutaya Tokyo Roppongi"
- drinking soy latte at Starbucks

The starting point of the tour was "Tsutaya Tokyo Roppongi" - a store whose logo design and branding strategy were undertaken by art director Kashiwa Sato. The store was selected by graphic designer Kazunari Hattori.

"We asked Hattori-san to recommend six places, and he took the initiative in thinking up the title "Katte ni Konjaku Monogatari (Whimsical Tales from the Past) - A graphic designer's take" and writing a piece in a story style," said Kato.

When one looks at the back of the map, one can see that the layout for the portion by Hattori is different from that of the other creators.

"Hattori-san has been engaged in projects such as the art direction of Kewpie mayonnaise and 'Ryuko Tsushin' and he is a person I look up to," said Mitsuboshi. "I felt nervous when showing him the draft for the map we were making; when he saw it, he inevitably said 'This doesn't look quite right, does it?' (laughs) He gave us some very kind advice. Things went well when we heeded his words."

As Mitsuboshi talked about Hattori's notable stoic approach to design, the group walked to the next destination.

Gelateria Picco
- a small gelato shop in the middle of buildings

Industrial designer Fumie Shibata who was in charge of the map's "spots to visit on a stroll" had recommended Gelateria Picco, a gelato shop that makes its products from raw milk shipped directly from the "Northern Alps."

The menu for nine types of gelato change every day according to season and weather, and include flavors such as "milk fresh from the cow" which Shibata recommends, as well as "simply strawberries" and "pistachio". To enjoy more than one flavor, one can order "double" or "triple" gelatos. The tour participants carefully contemplated the various gelatos on display to buy the flavor of their choice. Then they went up to the terrace on the second floor where they introduced themselves to each other.

The jobs and ages of the participants of this tour differed widely; among the participants was a male web designer, a female retail buyer for select shops, a car designer and a person working in the medical field. A friendly atmosphere pervaded the room as the two guides and participants commented on the gelato. "It's such a rich and delicious taste! I often come to Roppongi but I didn't know about this shop," remarked one person. Another said "I bought a triple gelato. I'm a triple (jump) guy!" and made the others laugh.

Although they were meeting for the first time, it seemed that compared to other tours, the participants of this tour were becoming comfortable with each other at a quicker pace. Maybe this was thanks to the tasty gelato.

Many things to see on the route to Roppongi Hills

The tour route had been specially set so that the participants could visit the spots picked up by the six units of creators. While heading toward Roppongi Hills, the guides explained about the street furniture in Keyakizaka-dori.

"This chair is by Tokujin Yoshioka-san made in homage to Isamu Noguchi-san. The whole chair was created from a lump of glass," said Mitsuboshi.

"It's called 'Chair that disappears in the rain.' It was made at the Mihoya Glass shop located on the Roppongi-dori which we will be passing through later on," said Kato.