Spiral is an arts complex in Tokyo's Aoyama, established in 1985 with the aim of fusing the worlds of culture and enterprise.
Spiral accommodates a variety of spaces that can be used for different activities, including an art gallery, a café, a multipurpose hall, restaurants, a store selling lifestyle items and gifts, and a nail salon. The building and its activities are managed by Wacoal Art Center, an affiliate of Wacoal Corporation.
The name derives from the exterior of the building and its interior design, which express the image of an ascending spiral. Aimed mainly at urban consumers, the center is conceived around the idea of fusing lifestyle and art.
As such, it presents a wide range of sophisticated proposals and values to people that can help us attain a lifestyle where art and lifestyle exist in beautiful and enriching harmony. These include ways for people to enjoy high-quality arts and entertainment in their lives such as visual art, theatre, music, fashion, and design, as well as ways to add artistic dimensions to our lives in terms of how we live, eat and dress.
Spiral continues to create a cultural scene for the present day, forming a place for people to come into touch with types of art and design that transcend conventional categories, and functioning as a communication hub for the latest information on contemporary culture.
Wacoal Art Center
Spiral draws on its creative network to produce its own art events, hosts a wide range of projects and operates spaces such as the select shops 「＋S」 Spiral Market or Spiral Nail Salon.
Spiral is designed to be a versatile space where people can enjoy relaxing and stimulating experiences. The architect of the building, Fumihiko Maki, created a design based around the simple geometrical forms that are representative of modern design, such as squares, circles, equilateral triangles, and cones. The exterior of the building features a variety of forms and shapes arranged in a collage style. The architectural materials employ many aluminum panels, glass, and metallic tiles, which produces a contemporary and sophisticated atmosphere. With its large esplanade-style staircase leading from the entrance to the second floor and the cylindrical atrium’s spiral-shaped slope, the interior is a serene and magnificent public space. Visitors are brought into contact with the events happening inside the complex while freely navigating around the various spaces in surroundings designed to soothe residents of the city.
In 1987, Spiral was selected by the American Institute of Architects for the R.S. Reynolds Memorial Award, which is given to the world’s most distinguished architecture of the year that uses aluminum. In addition, Spiral received the JIA 25 Years Award from the Japan Institute of Architects in 2012 for making a sustained contribution to the local environment, being beautifully maintained against the elements, and conveying social significance.
Fumihiko Maki was born in 1928 in Tokyo, and educated at University of Tokyo (BS Arch), Cranbrook Academy of Art (M.Arch) and Harvard University Graduate School of Design (M.Arch). Prior to returning to Tokyo in 1965 to open his own firm, Maki worked in the offices of SOM and Sert Jackson and Associates, as well as, the campus planning office of Washington University in St. Louis.
Spiral/Wacoal Art Center was awarded the 2022 Good Design –Long Life Design Award from the Japan Institute of Design Promotion.
The award recognizes Spiralʼs continued work since its opening in 1985 in producing a space that makes high-quality art experiences in the fields of art, dance, fashion, and design accessible to others, as well as proposing artistic approaches to daily life in the ways we live, eat, and dress. The award confirms that Spiral is appreciated by people in their daily lives and encourages our continued presence in the field of design.
Spiral will continue to work toward the “fusion of life and art” by offering exciting experiences in our art complex and beyond.