Shigeru Ban Builds a House for Camper in Soho: ‘I Tried to Make It a Surprise’

Shigeru Ban, one of the world’s most brilliant architects, is generally the quiet type, both in demeanor and design.

That made him quite out of place at the new Camper store on the corner of Prince and Mercer on Tuesday night. Mr. Ban stood quietly, drank quietly, spoke quietly to the handful of visitors who actually knew who he was—they all were or looked like architects themselves. All the while a full-on downtown party, in honor of the store’s opening a few weeks ago, raged about Mr. Ban in the shoebox-sized, and shoebox-filled, storefront.

Hipsters and fashion plates surged about for Estrella beer and Cava cocktails, where the cash-wrap had been turned into a bar and DJ booth, dance music and light rap clanging out of the speakers. A table of Spanish delicacies (of which Camper might be considered) had olive oil cakes, those quiche like patatas, marcona almonds piled atop sliced cheese, olives both green and black and, in the golpe de gracia, a gentleman slicing off morsels from a leg of jamon iberico.

Mr. Ban barely seemed to notice, gazing about happily. It would be wrong to think he was ill at ease, for Mr. Ban has a broad smile he deploys readily and frequently. “I’m not used to these sorts of things,” he amiably admitted. “Never for my buildings.
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