Project Details:

  • Name: Harajuku Quest mall
  • Location: Jingumae, Shibuya-ku, Tokyo
  • Site Area: 8,082-square-meter
  • Client: NTT UD
  • Architect: OMA
  • Partner-in-charge: Shohei Shigematsu
  • Associate: Takeshi Mitsuda
  • Team: Timothy Tse, Yuzaburo Tanaka, Kohei Sugishita, Chiao Yang, Fernan Bilik, Tetsuo Kobayashi
  • Structure: NTT Facilities
  • MEP: NTT Facilities

Retail design entails not just building venues that draw people and sell products, but also urban nodes that serve a greater role in the urban fabric. Similarly, the Harajuku neighborhood of Tokyo experienced an increasing requirement for comprehensive branding in retail architecture, which resulted in a gradual increase in the scale of the structures. The Harajuku Quest, designed by Shohei Shigematsu of OMA New York, is a revitalized commerce and cultural hub in that area.

Omotesando is a neighborhood with a strong urban character and a major axial street intersected by meandering, non-linear streets. The wide walkways adorned with zelkova trees and the impressive business centers, including flagships for well-known brands, distinguish the urban corridors. In that context, the Harajuku Quest, designed by Shohei Shigematsu, aims to be a major landmark in the region.

Architecture of Harajuku Quest designed By Shohei Shigematsu

Omotesando and Oku-Harajuku come together to represent a dichotomy of urban context as well as Tokyo’s fashion and commerce industry. Harajuku Quest, designed by Shohei Shigematsu, transcends this divide to achieve universal appeal. The design addressed the rising importance of expressive branding in retail architecture.


Layout Of Harajuku Quest designed by Shohei Shigematsu

The 8,082-square-meter Harajuku Quest is intended to connect the two neighborhoods of Omotesando and Oku-Harajuku in Tokyo. This plan was intended to open the building up to the Harajuku neighborhood, which is noted for its innovation and distinct urban lifestyle. It is envisioned as a gathering space where visitors may concurrently enjoy the activities and ambiance of dynamic retail and the local culture scene.

Form Development

Development Of Harajuku Quest designed by Shohei Shigematsu
Development Of Harajuku Quest designed

Harajuku Quest, designed Shohei Shigematsu of OMA,  slopes down from a multifaceted glass structure facing Omotesando to a one-story tunnel in the center of the block. This reflects the finer-grained nature of Oku-Harajuku rather than the vast, tree-lined boulevard of Omotesando. They attempted to preserve Oku-Harajuku’s townscape of narrow, organic alleys and human-scale independent storefronts.

The Omotesando-side façade is pulled and compressed to give it a sculpture-like appearance. At the same time, the side that faces Oku-Harajuku has steps that are receding to provide it with an inhabited public character. In addition to allowing for a variety of open spaces or programs that flow out toward Harajuku, this approach aids in lowering the building’s visual scale.


Facade Harajuku Quest designed by Shohei Shigematsu

The facade Harajuku Quest, designed by Shohei Shigematsu, is based on the orientation of the building and the neighborhood it is facing. The Omotesando side of the building features a monolithic, clear glass façade that is set back at the top and ground to produce a convex form. On the other hand,  the Harajuku side has tiered terraces and public spaces.

Interior Design 

Interior Design of Harajuku Quest designed by Shohei Shigematsu

The interiors of the new building attempt to blend allusions from the renowned urban identity of the busy street to those of the village-like townscape of Oku-Harajuku. It consists of a retail and eating zone. 46,285 square feet, or little over half, of the building, are designated for retail use.  While the remaining area is used for parking and mechanicals and public space measures 12,055 square feet.

Harajuku Quest by Shohei Shigematsu of OMA will facilitate the flow of visitors through organic alleys, streets, and public squares. This will ensure informal encounters and gathering space. Harajuku Quest also features dynamic biophilia that interacts with the zelkova trees.

What Makes Harajuku Quest Unique?

What Makes Harajuku Quest Unique

The designers wanted to blend the concept of Harajuku quest mall with the urban fabric while making it stand out. But how can a design be both subtle and iconic?  The answer lies in the form and spatial arrangement. When viewed from a distance, Harajuku Quest by Shohei Shigematsu of OMA appears as a standalone trapezoidal mass in the neighborhood. One facade features a gold-faced, zigzagging stairway, while another features a titled glass volume inclined outward. 

In contrast to the enormous verticality, a succession of human-scale terraces ascend in levels, offering a variety of open places for programs to flow out towards the neighborhood. The building’s second story has a large terrace that juts out into the metropolis and is used for cultural events as well as bringing the activity of the street level inside.

About The Designers


 Office For Metropolitan Architecture

OMA or Office For Metropolitan Architecture is a leading multinational architectural, urban, and cultural analysis collaboration. Their structures and masterplans all over the world insist on rational forms while generating unique design solutions based on intensive research and partnerships.

OMA was established in 1975 by Madelon Vriesendorp, Zoe Zenghelis, Rem Koolhaas, and Elia Zenghelis. The firm’s submission in the 1978 architectural design competition for a new Dutch parliament building in The Hague and the establishment of OMA happened at the same time.

They have a diverse portfolio of works, including the Netherlands Embassy in Berlin and Seattle Central Library. Harajuku Quest, designed by Shohei Shigematsu, is their latest design undertaking.

Shigematsu Shohei

Shigematsu Shohei

Shohei Shigematsu is an Associate at OMA, located in New York. For the last decade, he has been a driving force behind many of OMA’s projects, spearheading the firm’s varied portfolio across the Americas. He is also a design critic at Harvard Graduate School of Design, where he is leading a research studio called Alimentary Design, which is looking at the interaction of cuisine, architectural design, and urbanism.

Shohei Shigematsu was born in 1973 in Fukuoka Prefecture, Japan, and graduated from Kyushu University’s Department of Architecture in 1996. Sho is known for crafting engaging spaces that are in line with urban settings. This concept is reflected in the majority of his luxury high-rise buildings in San Francisco, New York, and Miami. His most recent project, the Harajuku Quest Mall in Tokyo, combines urban analysis with architectural design.

Harajuku Quest designed by Shohei Shigematsu
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An Urbanist Interpretation of Retail Design: Harajuku Quest by Shohei Shigematsu

The design of Harajuku Quest Mall goes beyond the realm of commercial architecture and embodies the youthful spirit of the Harajuku district.  Two distinct manipulations within the site’s boundaries are used to develop a single form in response to the two settings of Oku-Harajuku and Omotesando. According to Shohei Shigematsu, the design is similar to two sides of the same coin. A single structure communicates different characters and is interconnected by a public corridor.

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