1989 – Unhex Nani Nani – Philippe Starck and Makato Nozawa

Architect Philippe Starck allegedly conceived this as a green monster rising from the Florida swamps, but it seems more likely he had in mind the rubber-suited Gill-Man in the “Creature From the Black Lagoon”, the 1954 B-movie classic set in the Amazon. Whatever its inspiration, Unhex Nani Nani ist definitely a fish out of water: a copper-sheeted Barbapapa-like blob on an otherwise ordinary street in the middle of Tokyo. A five-story office building with commercial space on the street level, it was intended for Unhex, a construction company eager to project a different image. “Nani nani” is Japanese fpr “what is it?”, and puzzlement has indeed been the general reaction to the building.

Name: Unhex Nani Nani │Type: Commercial / Office│Architect: Philippe Starck / Makato Nozawa │Completed: 1989


1989 – Asahi Super Dry Hall – Philippe Starck

This iconic building designed by interior designer turned architect Philippe Starck, is one of Tokyo’s most notable landmarks. It stands emblematic for the so called bubble era when known Western architects and designers were being recruited by large companys to create eye-catching works. The building has earned itself several unflattering nicknames among those who disdain its flashy self-important style but it is sure to please devotees of Starck’s sleek and elegant style. Completed in 1989, it serves as a symbol of the Asahi Beer company.

Perched above the Sumidagawa river, the building is a shiny black form with a giant gold flame rising up from its flat roof. The building itself is covered with highly polished black granite. Its windows are small portholes which are almost invisible from a distance. The walls of the building curve gently outward towards the top, creating in effect a giant pedestal for the gold flame on top. The flame itself, from which the beer hall and restaurant within take their names, rises several stories and looms over the Sumidagawa river as a gilded monument to Asahi beer. It is constructed of metal and weighs over 300 tons. Inside, the beer hall is a two-story space with fat, tuber-like columns.

Name: Asahi Super Dry Hall │Type: Entertainment│Architect: Philippe Starck│Completed: 1989