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Where Innovation Meets Tradition: New Balance T House, Tokyo


Ever wondered how New Balance are designed? I was invited behind the scenes to New Balance Tokyo Design Studio to check out the recently opened New Balance T House in Nihonbashi Hamacho. I caught up with the team behind the brand new Niobium concept, and TDS Creative Design Manager, Shugo Moritani to find out more about the latest products and the story behind the location.

Launched in 2012, Tokyo Design Studio acted as a research and development hub for New Balance across Japan and worldwide. Fast forward to 2020 and they have opened up New Balance T House, a two-storey design studio and retail space in a 122-year-old converted traditional Japanese ‘kura’ warehouse. Designed by Schema Architects, the project design takes inspiration from Japanese tearoom culture, and a design sensibility that combines traditional craftsmanship and innovation. The flexible retail interior doubles up as an event and exhibition space, and the upstairs studio provides transparency to the design process, reinforcing that everything is designed right here in East Tokyo.

The contrast between tradition and innovation is apparent right through from the materials used in the architecture, to the products on display. TDS has allowed New Balance to innovate, focusing on Japanese design and collaborators. The shoes themselves are even designed on iPads, no less. Over time, T House will feature special collaborations and exclusive product launches, as well as artist installations based around different themes every month.

Originally commissioned for Monocle Magazine, November 2020
Find out more via @newbalance_t_house

Photography by Ben Richards