Tokyo Storefronts is almost a cult book, an ideal choice for fans of beautiful albums as well as lovers of Japan looking for inspiration. Mateusz Urbanowicz painted in watercolour 50 of Tokyo’s little shops which he found extremely charming. As he himself points out, this is not strictly a book about architecture, but rather a tale of his favorite places in Tokyo.
The shops are divided by districts: at the beginning of each chapter you will find a map with marked locations. Unfortunately, some of the buildings have already been demolished, but many of them can still be visited – and you can take advantage of the services they offer, which are very diverse. A butcher shop, a pharmacy, an antique shop, a coffee shop, a tempura restaurant, a hairdresser’s, a bookstore… Each shop is briefly described, and in addition to large illustrations, some of the details that are given these places their unique character are also magnified so you can appreciate the details.
On one hand, the album, is realistic (a style somehow reminiscent of the films of Makoto Shinkai, for whom he worked), and on the other hand, Urbanowicz’s art is slightly fairy-tale in style, full of pastel colors, which gives the album a nostalgic atmosphere. And if you prefer more noir vibes, check it out Tokyo at Night, too!