London's turning Japanese this summer
Japan House London is set to turn us all on to Japanese cuisine and culture when it takes over the old Biba store
Londoners, are you hungry for an authentic taste of Japan, but can’t quite stump up the airfare? Then catch the tube to High Street Kensington instead. Because this summer one of Kensington’s better-known shops will offer a distinctly Japanese take on retail culture.
Japan House London is a new cultural centre, backed by the Japanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs, opening on 22 June 2018. The House will occupy three floors of a grade II listed Art Deco building at 101-111 High Street Kensington, which once housed the Biba Store.
Kenya Hara, art director at Muji and co-author of our book, WA: The Essence of Japanese Design, serves as the project’s chief creative director. Meanwhile, fellow Phaidon author Sou Fujimoto, is the subject of the House’s first exhibition, Futures of the Future; there will be a well-stocked shop, selling everything from Japanese pens to teapots; and a library displaying some of the country’s finest books.
However, the real draw for gourmets will be the House’s restaurant, Akira. Overseen by the acclaimed Japanese chef Akira Shimizu, the new eatery will place special emphasis on Japanese hospitality, the regional diversity and seasonality of Japan’s cuisine and will serve all meals on artisan-made tableware, sourced from all over the country.
If you want to get into the mood before going and get a little taste of the kind of food you might find at Akira, get Japan the Cookbook. For more on Japanese design sensibilities get WA: The Essence of Japanese Design; and for more on Sou Fujimoto get the acclaimed architect’s monograph here.