Fig. 1 – Issey Miyake storefront window with optical fiber curtain and signage.

Email has been around since the 1960s, file sharing since the 1970s, standardization of TCP/IP happened in 1982 and the World Wide Web was established in 1989. By 2000 when we were invited by Issey Miyake to make a proposal for the company’s U.S. headquarters in a historic three-story warehouse in Tribeca, half the population of the U.S. was accessing information through the internet (refs. 2, 3, and 4).


Inspired by Miyake’s experimentation with materials we explored the physical properties of the invisible network wiring global communications. Using optical fiber strands as a ‘dumb’ material, we proposed in an extensive light transmitting weave that permeates the fashion flagship’s ground floor and subterranean levels.

Fig. 3 – A light engine obscured by a mirrored wall at the rear of the first floor space, illuminates an optical fiber assemblage that distributes light to the basement and sub-basement levels of the three story space.

Fig. 2 – Reflected ceiling plan of the first floor showing the mirror at the rear of the space that the large optical fiber bundle passes through. A ceiling-hung armature divides and distributes the optical fibers to form the features of the three story space.

Fig. 4 – Section through the three story space show the path of light from the rear of first floor store down to the basement showroom and the sub-basement warehouse.

Fig. 5 – Section perspective of the optical fiber assemblage from the rear of the retail space.

Fig. 6 – Diagrams showing the path of light from the ground level to sub-basement (left) and the zones of light produced (right).

Fig. 7 – Reflected ceiling plan view of entire optical fiber armature.

Fig. 8 – Side view of the optical fiber armature.

Fig. 9 – Process image of the armature.

Fig. 10 – Process image of the storefront view from the street.


New York, USA




9,000 sqf



systems and materials:

Steel, concrete, optical fiber and wood


Issey Miyake

project team:

Lindy Roy with Albert Angel and Anthony Burke

related projects:

Vitra, Natura Brasil, L’Oreal Paris, Noah’s, Okavango Delta Spa


Henry Urbach Architecture, X Roy Projects

SFMOMA, ROY Design Series 1


bob: International Magazine of Space Design (2005)


Ref. 1 - Issey Miyake transparent woven garment.

Ref. 2 - Under-ocean fiber optic cables.

Ref. 3 - Share of global population using the internet.

Ref. 4 - A precursor to computing, Jacquard Loom (1801) used thousands of punch cards laced together to produce complex textiles.

Ref. 5 - A water light engine.

Ref. 6 - Mitsubishi light emitting rayon.