REVO Study Tour to Tokyo and Seoul, May 7th-12th, 2017

REVO Study Tour to Tokyo and Seoul, May 7th-12th, 2017

Kevin Maguire, ORHT’s lead director for overseas projects, is just back from a very successful REVO study tour to Tokyo and Seoul on the latest commercial and retail projects in those cities.

The tour, formally supported by Harrison:Fraser, strategic brand consultants, and niche retail and leisure agency LunsonMitchenall, was designed to offer delegates key insights into the trends and developments within the international retail property and placemaking community.

The organisers also made sure Kevin and his fellow delegates had the best possible business networking opportunities.

Greater Tokyo is the biggest metropolis in the world, with a population of more than 35 million people, and its narrow streets and small plots of land — limiting the size of most retail spaces — make shopping an intimate experience about discovery and surprise.

There was so much to do and see on a five-day visit and it was straight down to business for the touring party as the opening ceremony took place at the Isetan Department Store on Monday morning.

Then it was off to the co-branded store Bicqlo, followed by a stop-off at Shinjuku Station (“The busiest place in the world”, according to Charles Spreckley of People Make Places, who earlier provided delegates with an outline of the tour).

Soon the party was on its way to the densely populated Shibuya ward, with its famous “scramble crossing”, which often features on TV documentaries and movies including Lost In Translation and action movie The Fast And The Furious: Tokyo Drift.

This crossing, a large intersection in front of Shibuya train station, stops vehicles from all directions to allow pedestrians to inundate the entire intersection when the crossing light turns green. And there is a lot of pedestrians in an area with a population density of 14,679.09 people per kilometre.

The group heard about the 15-year master plan for redevelopment of an entire quarter of Tokyo, including several skyscrapers and the relocation of transport facilities.

It was all go for these busy professionals, but there was also time to take in the lighter side of Tokyo street life, with visits to Marche De Metro, a food destination integrated into a subway station, and a stroll through trendy Harajuku and along Omatesando for some lux brand architecture.

The next day included stop-offs at the stunning high-end Muji Megastore in Tokyo Midtown and, and Tokyo Train Station, with its spectacular 230m-long “Sail of Light” roof. This pivotal hub handles 418,000 passengers daily.

The visitors were seriously impressed by the massive Ginza Six commercial complex, here fashion-conscious Japanese big spenders and tourists alike flock to high-flying international brands like Céline, Dior and Fendi.

Tired but exhilarated, the delegates headed to Narita Airport early on the Wednesday morning for the flight to Seoul.

Seoul is a relatively new city which has created purpose-built, state-of-the-art retail destinations in the heart of its new commercial districts, and delegates experienced this first hand when they were brought to the Some Sevit (Floating Island) leisure and cultural complex.

The following day delegates took in the Express Terminal Mall, an integrated shopping centre, and the Coex Mall, Korea’s largest underground retail space,  linking hotels, conference facilities and transport hubs.

There was also a visit to the landmark Lotte World Tower & Mall, one of Seoul’s top shopping attractions. Standing 556 metres high, the tower contains a luxury hotel, gallery, cafés, and a Skywalk and observation deck.

The touring party was then whisked off to the Dongdaemun Design Plaza, designed by Zaha Hadid and Samoo, and comprising five halls: Art Hall, Museum, Design Lab, Design Market, and Dongdaemun History and Culture Park.

On the Friday, there was a morning trip to Starfield Hanam, the second largest shopping centre in South Korea. In the afternoon, it was time for some gourmet fare, with a visit to Gourmet 494, a high-end gastronomic hall.

That afternoon, after the official end of a busy but hugely informative tour, delegates made their way back to the UK and Ireland

According to Kevin Maguire, the Revo study tour was “wonderful”.

“It was organised to the highest professional standard by Revo, Harrison:Fraser & LunsonMitchenall,” he said.

“It has provided me with an excellent overview of cutting edge developments in Tokyo and Seoul. A particular note of thanks to Charles Spreckley (People Make Places) and Yumiko Wakiyama on their inside track on the destinations we visited.”