The Challenge

All that, and Osaka chic

Sogo, a venerable Japanese shopping Mecca that ultimately established stores in places as far flung as Beijing, Hong Kong, Taipei, Jakarta & Surabaya, Kuala Lumpur, Bangkok and London, was originally founded in 1830 in Osaka by Ihei Sogo, a retailer of used kimono. More than 75 years after this founding, Sogo executives felt it was time to renovate the flagship location in Osaka, and in doing so, seek to attract younger generations without losing loyal older customers.

The Solution


Working in partnership with Callison Architects, GIRVIN sought to harmonize seamlessly with the new architectural concept through experiential graphic design, providing a fluid experience from the outside and throughout the entire store. The new design with 3-floor high glass back-lit facade works as a lantern, drawing attention in the dark. The storefront also has integrated silhouettes of the Gingko tree (a trademark for the street) and cherry blossoms, representing Japan. These patterns extend into the interior by way of floor patterns and are used in the wayfinding system, directing people throughout the store as well as to the connected railway stations. The original store had grown to become the centerpiece of a luxury retail center, with the new design helping Sogo to serve the surrounding community. The Sogo symbol contains a representation of the spindle, a tie back to spinning of silk for kimono, where it all started generations ago.

And Beyond

“In reality, Girvin’s team went far beyond just ‘doing the signs.’ Their work conferred a luxury brand message through integrated storytelling.”

Dawn C | Principal Architect | Callison