Acrylic: Tokyo's tiny shop for minimalist jewelry

Acrylic: Tokyo's tiny shop for minimalist jewelry

Occupying one of the narrowest buildings in Tokyo, Acrylic is the center for Masako Ban's neo-minimalist accessory line
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Architects KDa managed to fit this store within a tiny, tiny space. Oh so very Tokyo. (Photo by Flickr user brandon shigeta)

Jewelry in Japan has traditionally been austere and restrained, but the styles often seen in Shibuya or Harajuku these days would be better described as 'garish and cheap.' The most interesting accessories brands, however, offer more considered creations that mix traditional Japanese accents with modernism's most successful progeny: minimalism. 

Behind the Roppongi Hills complex, on the left before a quiet intersection, is Acrylic. The building, with its shining two-story facade, is famous for filling a space less than two meters wide. Designed by Klein-Dytham Architecture (the people responsible for the SuperDeluxe venue, among other notable architectural sites), this space is a paper thin temple to the see-through and the synthetic. 

acrylicA peek at Acrylic's interior.The exterior windows are covered in a white vinyl silhouette of a bamboo grove, allowing sunlight to pass through the interstices onto vivid laser cut necklaces, felt and sponge rings, and honeycomb mesh bags. The product stock evokes the fare of museum shops around the world -- novel, idiosyncratic accessories, made from unexpected materials -- but with much more attention to detail. The accents here are distinctively Japanese married to geometric forms rooted in the modular, blobular and globular designs of the 1960s.

A variety of designers are stocked -- a nice and careful selection -- but the real attractions are the designs by Masako Ban, a Japanese jeweler awarded for her designs by Wallpaper* Magazine.

The prices range from an affordable sales area with items under ¥1,000 to higher priced necklaces (¥14,000) and shimmering gold brooches (¥10,000) attracting a bevy of design conscious Japanese ladies -- namely, the young woman wandering down from Roppongi and the older woman up from Hiroo.

The common thread between the jewelry and accessories here is simplicity. Keeping things contemporary, Acrylic's curation tends towards the colorful and minimal, allowing the materials themselves to shine. Make sure to take care on the tiny staircase up to the second floor though. Minimalism, in excess, is anything but safe.

Acrylic: Motoazabu 2-2-10, Minato-Ku, tel. 03 3447 0734, 12-6pm, closed Mondays, www.acrylic.jp.