31 October 2015

The New Itoya

Over two years ago, Itoya closed the flagship builing in Ginza for renovation. The main operation was transferred to a nearby building in the meantime. Things were back to normal this past Summer –the renewed headquarters on Chuo Dori, the main street in Ginza, open with the corresponding fanfare.

The new façade of the Itoya flagship store in Ginza.

Back to normal, I said. Really?

Maybe Itoya is back to normal, but not to the way Itoya operated before the renovation. At that time, this shop was a reference in Tokyo for all things stationery. Its stock, and the number of displayed items were impressive. Itoya was the place to go in search for very specific stationery.

Some inexpensive fountain pens are also displayed in the main building. Lamy, Kaweco, the Itoya's series Color Chart... are some of them.

But that does not seem to be the case now.

Now, Itoya is something else. Now, in Itoya you can find many things unrelated to stationery. Now you can find coffee machines, for instance. Now, Itoya is more of a “lifestyle” shop where to look for fashionable and trendy goods. In fact, Itoya now resembles to a Japanese chain of “lifestyle” shops: Loft.

One section Itoya has apparently invested on is the area of customized products –personalized notebooks and printed matters. A lot more space is dedicated to them after the renovation at the expense of many other goods previously present—from notebooks to pens to any accessory--, whose space has been drastically reduced.

Samples of papers for custom prints. At least, beautiful.

Paper samples for custom notebooks.

The fountain pen section, itself a reference in Tokyo and in Japan, has been preserved in the K.Itoya building in the back alley from the headquarters. Stylophiles still have this particular mecca in Tokyo where to go to see what is going in the fountain pen market nowadays.

The café on the top floor. The name says it all. But at least it has some stylographic flavor.

Recently published book. The title, Ginza Itoya. Stationery. And then, "better life". Clear enough?

I wonder what the rationale lies behind this change in the orientation of Itoya, and I cannot see whether this makes economic sense. I do know, however, that right now there are better shops in Tokyo where to find very specific products, no matter Itoya –and many others, for that matter—could take your order.

Itoya’s headquarters now might be a lot more beautiful, but that is about it. Itoya has lost a lot of the previous appeal as stationery shop.

Pilot Penmanship – Montblanc White Forest

Bruno Taut
Shinjuku, October 29th, 2015
etiquetas: mercado, Tokyo, papelería, Itoya

1 comment:

Pedro Haddock said...

Lovely place. Keen to pay a long and peaceful visit if I may say. thanks for sharing this. Cheers, "maestro"

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