Shopping mall chic. Sapporo, Japan. December 2012

Japan

Japan’s fourth-largest city, Sapporo, is famed for it’s beer and it’s February Snow Festival but we arrived during Christmas week with a clear mind and no expectations of what was in store for us. As our plane touched down on the bleak, snow-covered tarmac we were really wishing our luggage had made our Melbourne-Tokyo flight and was not delayed 24 hours – it didn’t take long for the icy chill to overtake our excitement and realise our travel attire was woefully inefficient in the midst of a true northern hemisphere winter.

Then we discovered the gentle, serene, minimal joy of Sapporo. Alongside crazy busy underground malls of Christmas shoppers rushing around while a blizzard raged outside, we stumbled upon buildings of peace, of minimal and cutting edge architecture which housed clean lines of furniture, food and fashion. Fabrics and textures, ceramics and paper products, colour and balance, the Japanese design aesthetic unravelled before our eyes as we wandered aimlessly further and further into the heart of the true city.

This simplistic, elegant set of seats is for shopping mall customers to rest with their recycled organic shopping backs. Highpoint, Chadstone and Southland take note.

Joyfully, our luggage did turn up at the promised time. A shower to warm the bones and finally wrapped in wool and puffed duck feathers, we once again hit the streets to play in the snow and continue exploring the snow-blanketed beauty of Hokkaido’s capital city.