UNIQLO and Our Town

UNIQLO has come to town. Here’s the view from Hamburg, where UNIQLO opened in fall 2020.

  • Illustration by Adrian Hogan
  • Photography by Rie Yamada
  • Coordination & Text by Yumiko Urae
  • Special thanks to Hamburg Marketing GmbH

Hamburg, the largest port city in Germany, where the sun shines off the water and the buildings catch the light at every turn. Blending the refined atmosphere of a progressive center of media, culture and communications with the austerity of a historic trading hub, this city of canals is also the hometown of Jil Sander. And if that’s not charming enough, it has the genteel habit of welcoming foreign vessels in the language of their country, and is also one of Europe’s capitals of coffee. Starting from UNIQLO Hamburg, in the middle of it all, we took a trip around the city.

SWIPE

UNIQLO Hamburg

Opened in Hamburg’s old town on October 9th, 2020. Located in a former bank on Alter Wall, among the oldest buildings in the city, our Hamburg store has three stories aboveground and one below for 1,750 m2 of retail space, making it one of the largest UNIQLO locations in the world. The building’s facade and mosaic ceilings reference industries like fishing, sea transport and trade that remain vital to the city. The central atrium has a commanding spiral staircase.

Designer Jil Sander’s Favorite Spots

Hamburg City Hall
City Hall

Neighboring UNIQLO, this Neo-Renaissance seat of government is 111 m wide, with a 112 m tower. The office where Jil works was designed by the same architect, Martin Haller. Enjoy refined traditional cuisine at Parlament, a restaurant on the lower level.

Elbphilharmonie
Concert Hall

Known affectionately as Elphi, this concert hall completed in 2017 was designed by Herzog & de Meuron, who also worked on the UNIQLO Tokyo store. Former warehouses have been converted into restaurants and a hotel. Acoustics for the Grand Concert Hall were designed by the masterful Yasuhisa Toyota of Nagata Acoustics.

Milch Feinkost at Portuguese Quarter
Cafe

About 1.5 km west of the old town, the Portuguese Quarter was named for immigrants from Portugal who moved here in the 1970s to work in the harbor. The decades brought a trove of seafood and pasta restaurants, and today the area is frequented by office workers from the nearby publishers and ad agencies, as well as tourists.

Located on Ditmar-Koel-Straße, the neighborhood’s main street, Milch Feinkost has a retro tiled facade leftover from a 1950s milk store. Local coffee lovers find owner Nico’s daily roasts irresistibly delicious.

Sautter+Lackmann Fachbuchhandlung
Book Store

The premier specialty bookstore in Hamburg, boasting a stock of over 50,000 titles related to art, architecture, urban planning, graphic design, photography and film. Since it was opened by the Sautter couple in 1970, the selection has only grown. Moved to the current location in 1989. Offering choice local interest titles like art books by artist Horst Janssen and the latest books on urban planning.

Hamburgische Staatsoper
Opera House

The Hamburg State Opera House, established in 1678, has the longest history of any opera house in Germany. Home to the Hamburg State Opera, whose GMD is Kent Nagano, the Hamburg Philharmonic State Orchestra, and the Hamburg Ballet, led by famed choreographer John Neumeier, whose Ghost Light considers the coronavirus.

©Kiran West

Hotel Atlantic Kempinski Hamburg
Hotel

Established in 1907, this grand hotel originally catered to passengers of the Hamburg America Line. With a long history of hosting international celebrities, the hotel also appeared in the James Bond movie franchise. Lobby renovated in 2019.

NIVEA Vending Machine
Shop

A vending machine from Nivea, famous for their blue tins, pokes from the corner of a building. After all, this is the hometown of Beiersdorf, which created Nivea nearly 110 years ago. The vending machine outside Nivea Haus sells mini Nivea tins for €1, an easy fix for dry hands on the go.

Deichtorhallen
Art Gallery

Consisting of two steel and glass structures built in 1914 as markets, the northern hall was reborn in 1989 as the Hall for Contemporary Art, while the southern hall became the House of Photography in 2005. Host of exhibitions by big-name artists such as Wolfgang Tillmans, Gilbert & George, and Raymond Pettibon. An exhibition of South African artist William Kentridge is on view through April 18th, with the Tom Sachs exhibition Space Program planned for June 19th.

Wasserschloss Speicherstadt Teakontor
Tea Specialty Store

On the canals of Hamburg’s warehouse district, a designated World Heritage site, the aptly named “Water Castle” was once used for workspace and lodging by engineers working in the harbor. Today, the building houses a bustling restaurant and a tea store, with over 250 teas from all over the world.

Designer Jil Sander’s Favorite Spots

Hamburg City Hall
City Hall

Neighboring UNIQLO, this Neo-Renaissance seat of government is 111 m wide, with a 112 m tower. The office where Jil works was designed by the same architect, Martin Haller. Enjoy refined traditional cuisine at Parlament, a restaurant on the lower level.

Elbphilharmonie
Concert Hall

Known affectionately as Elphi, this concert hall completed in 2017 was designed by Herzog & de Meuron, who also worked on the UNIQLO Tokyo store. Former warehouses have been converted into restaurants and a hotel. Acoustics for the Grand Concert Hall were designed by the masterful Yasuhisa Toyota of Nagata Acoustics.

Sautter+Lackmann Fachbuchhandlung
Book Store

The premier specialty bookstore in Hamburg, boasting a stock of over 50,000 titles related to art, architecture, urban planning, graphic design, photography and film. Since it was opened by the Sautter couple in 1970, the selection has only grown. Moved to the current location in 1989. Offering choice local interest titles like art books by artist Horst Janssen and the latest books on urban planning.

Hotel Atlantic Kempinski Hamburg
Hotel

Established in 1907, this grand hotel originally catered to passengers of the Hamburg America Line. With a long history of hosting international celebrities, the hotel also appeared in the James Bond movie franchise. Lobby renovated in 2019.

Deichtorhallen
Art Gallery

Consisting of two steel and glass structures built in 1914 as markets, the northern hall was reborn in 1989 as the Hall for Contemporary Art, while the southern hall became the House of Photography in 2005. Host of exhibitions by big-name artists such as Wolfgang Tillmans, Gilbert & George, and Raymond Pettibon. An exhibition of South African artist William Kentridge is on view through April 18th, with the Tom Sachs exhibition Space Program planned for June 19th.

Milch Feinkost at Portuguese Quarter
Cafe

About 1.5 km west of the old town, the Portuguese Quarter was named for immigrants from Portugal who moved here in the 1970s to work in the harbor. The decades brought a trove of seafood and pasta restaurants, and today the area is frequented by office workers from the nearby publishers and ad agencies, as well as tourists.

Located on Ditmar-Koel-Straße, the neighborhood’s main street, Milch Feinkost has a retro tiled facade leftover from a 1950s milk store. Local coffee lovers find owner Nico’s daily roasts irresistibly delicious.

Hamburgische Staatsoper
Opera House

The Hamburg State Opera House, established in 1678, has the longest history of any opera house in Germany. Home to the Hamburg State Opera, whose GMD is Kent Nagano, the Hamburg Philharmonic State Orchestra, and the Hamburg Ballet, led by famed choreographer John Neumeier, whose Ghost Light considers the coronavirus.

©Kiran West

NIVEA Vending Machine
Shop

A vending machine from Nivea, famous for their blue tins, pokes from the corner of a building. After all, this is the hometown of Beiersdorf, which created Nivea nearly 110 years ago. The vending machine outside Nivea Haus sells mini Nivea tins for €1, an easy fix for dry hands on the go.

Wasserschloss Speicherstadt Teakontor
Tea Specialty Store

On the canals of Hamburg’s warehouse district, a designated World Heritage site, the aptly named “Water Castle” was once used for workspace and lodging by engineers working in the harbor. Today, the building houses a bustling restaurant and a tea store, with over 250 teas from all over the world.

Taking Hamburg Home

1. Hamburg Flag Magnet

The Flag of Hamburg consists of two six-pointed stars flanking the spire of the old St. Mary’s Cathedral, over a gated castle with two towers. The red and white color scheme was codified in 1834. Available on cups and magnets, for a variety of souvenirs.

2. Labskaus

A local specialty consisting of corned beef and mashed potatoes, labskaus is said to be beloved by fishermen and sailors. This classic canned version is made by the Old Commercial Room, founded in 1795 and once visited by the Beatles. The trick is to toss it in a mixer with beets and gherkins until it turns pink, then garnish with fried egg and herring.

3. Gummy Hamburger

As the birthplace of gummies, Germany offers no shortage of the treats. And look what we found: a nice, thick gummy burger. Different theories link Hamburg to the hamburger, but it’s widely believed that pan-fried meatballs sold in town crossed the Atlantic at the turn of the century.

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