The LVMH-owned French beauty brand Officine Universelle Buly has recently opened yet another boutique in Japan. It was designed by the brand’s co-owner and creative director Ramdane Touhami in his design practice Art Recherche Industrie.
The newest Kobe boutique is a free-standing store in the Kobe BAL Annex in the popular Motomachi neighbourhood. The brand has several free-standing and department-store shops in Japan and globally, but this is the first one in Japan that also incorporates a café. The store and café occupy adjacent units on the ground floor of the Annex.
With its deep-green walls, patterned tile floors, dark wood cabinets and the massive black marble bar the interior of the store and café have the luxurious ambiance of a brand with a very long history. Brass, cast iron and an eclectic mix of contemporary hanging light fixtures continue the mood of traditional Japanese brands.
This multitude of characteristics comes naturally in Japan from the long history of many establishments. Combined with the meticulous displays of jars, bottles and other packages, the Officine Universelle Buly interiors speak to the impeccable sense of order also so typical and beautiful in Japan.
Dark-wood display cases reminiscent of stores from a bygone era showcase for example their comb selection that is said to be the largest in the world.
Officine Universelle Buly was founded by Jean-Vincent Bully (yes, his name had two l:s) in 1803 on rue Saint-Honore in Paris. After a fantastic run in the world of fashion and parfumes, the brand petered out. But it was resurrected in 2014 by artistic director and co-owner Ramdane Touhami and his wife, beauty expert Victoire de Taillac. They have family in Japan and they are both avid Japan-fans. They have embraced the Japanese culture and its products. According to de Taillac, their first products were the Rice brand powder for cleansing the face, Camelia oil, and the Minebari Comb.
In addition to Japan, the brand has stores in Paris, Milan, London, Munich, Luxembourg, Bangkok Macao Taipei, Seoul and Hong Kong. According to Touhami, several new stores are expected for example in Vancouver, Jakarta and elsewhere.
Kobe BAL shopping centre consists of two parts, the main building and the BAL Annex. Both offer fashion and lifestyle stores such as the Japanese Tokyo-based brand Muji, the Australia-originated L’Oréal brand Aesop and the New York-based POLO Ralph Lauren.
Motomachi is both a district and a street in Kobe. It is considered the main shopping street in the city as well. It is 1.2 kilometres long and boasts more than 300 stores and many tourist attractions. Tuija Seipell
Images ©Officine Universelle Buly