2016 is a milestone year for Sony. First, it marks the 70th anniversary of the company, which was founded as Tokyo Tsushin Kogyo K.K. in 1946, right after the war.
And second, it marks the 50th anniversary of the Sony Building, the Sony Group's showroom. I decided to commemorate these milestones by reimagining the Sony Building and making it a new, even more appealing hub for Sony brand promotion.
50 Years of Love
When the Sony Building was completed in 1966, Japan was right in the middle of its period of rapid economic growth. The idea of opening a building with eight above-ground and four below-ground floors, and turning it into a company showroom right on the corner of the prime location that is Sukiyabashi Crossroad in central Ginza, was unheard of in Japan 50 years ago. As a unique building located on a prominent corner in Ginza, and as a building that symbolized the district, the Sony Building has been visited by countless people from around the world over its 50 years. Many elderly individuals say that, in their youth, the Sony Building would always be their meeting place in Ginza. And many families come to enjoy the Sony Aquarium event held over the summer every year. Then there are Sony's super fans, who rush to the Sony Building whenever a new product is launched, so they can try it out in person. There may only be one Sony Building, but there are as many fond memories of the building as the number of people who have visited over the years. The Sony Building, beloved by so many people, will continue to be a hub for disseminating information on the Sony brand, born in Japan, to the rest of the world.
Towards a More Open Building
However, after half a century, the current Sony Building can no longer meet the needs of the times. The scope of Sony's business has expanded, and everyday methods of communication have changed dramatically. For this reason, around 2013, we began to think about what could be done to revamp the Sony Building, and we put a great deal of thought into what the new building should look like. One of my directives to project members at the early stages of discussions was to make the building "inviting." I believed that the new Sony Building should be open and welcoming not only to people who visit with a specific purpose in mind, but also to those who are simply strolling through Ginza and happen to pass by. The project therefore places huge importance on the public nature of the building, as a piece of architecture that blends into the town, in addition to its design and functionality. This all led to the launch of the Sony Ginza Park Project in 2016.
With this project, the current Sony Building will be transformed dramatically in two stages between the years 2017 and 2022, creating an entirely new space in the district of Ginza.
One fundamental concept behind the first stage of this transformation process will be the establishment of the Ginza Sony Park, an open, public area right in the heart of Ginza by the Sukiyabashi Crossroad. From that location, information will be disseminated in whole new ways that deeply involve the public.
The Sony Building continues to be closely tied to the district of Ginza and its surrounding transportation network. The Ginza Sony Park, with its open nature and with the experimental activities that it will host, will become a new hub for Sony brand promotion, and will take the meaning of "open facility" to a new level. Then, the second stage of the process will see the construction of the new Sony Building, to begin from fall of 2020. In addition to being an "open facility," the new Sony Building will also take on urban functions, turning into an urban facility that remains very public in nature.
For Even Greater Kando and Excitement
The new Sony Building is slated for completion in 2022. We hope to turn it into a building that will be right at home in the Ginza of tomorrow. Sony will leverage the ideas and feedback of a wide range of people, including the local community of Sukiyabashi/Ginza with whom Sony will work hand-in-hand in energizing the area, as well as the partners who help plan the Ginza Sony Park Project and who make use of the park, in deciding the final form the new Sony Building will take.
As we prepare to launch this project, I would like to thank not only President Yabuki of Yabuki Shokai K.K., the joint owner of the Sony Building, but also all of the building's tenants, the local community of Ginza, and many others who have been involved in the effort.
Through this initiative in Ginza, and with our eyes set on the future, we will work to continue Sony's legacy of undertaking great challenges and delivering Kando and excitement to all. Please look forward to what we have in store for you.