The 15-storey Hermès building, is situated in the Ginza District in the heart of Tokyo and was designed by Renzo Piano Building Workshop, in cooperation with Schmidlin.
The project was aesthetically and technically challenging. The peculiarity of this façade is the size of the glass blocks and their prefabrication into a unitised façade. The blocks were installed in stainless steel framing which is designed to absorb seismic movements. During an earth tremor the façade reacts elastically. The stainless steel framing system provides stability and resistance to wind and seismic loads. The glass block rebates are covered with a silver coating to mask the framing. The joints between the units, sealed with silicone to improve the fire protection, are of a constant size and the view of the façade is regular.
The glass façade displays, particularly at night, the required effect of a shining lantern according to the Japanese tradition, to adorn the entrance of restaurants and business buildings.