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The label’s first collection, designed by young Dutch designers, including Denmark-born Claes Iversen, launched with a flashy catwalk show at the Arnhem Fashion Biennale in 2007. The label is part of Stichting Mode Met een Missie (Fashion with a mission foundation) which, in turn, was founded in 2005 to help women with problems caused by addiction, homelessness or psychiatric issues. In “teach-them-to-fish” spirit, the women are taught to make the Ami-e-toi label’s clothing and so gain a profession, and self respect.
In Mentjens’s luxurious store design, Art Deco meets boudoir and is juxtaposed with red-velvet sofas, oak parquet flooring, marble, busts on mirror-top tables, and cameos on the wall. Two massive mirrored walls ensure that the fashions and the fashionistas are visible in endless repetition. The idea “Nothing is quite as it seems” is part of the design concept, echoing the contrast between have-it-all fashionistas and the women who make the fashions. - Tuija Seipell
Japan is a hot-bed of out-of-the-box creativity and retail design is one of the areas in which it excels. The latest store with more is the new Patrick Cox boutique in Tokyo's Aoyama district, a mecca for fashion.
Local architect Chikara Ohno designed the store using only three elements - the colour white, the circle shape and lighting - to great effect. Forming a canopy, huge, cylindrical pendants hang from the ceiling resembling imposing sculptures that also illuminate the products perched just below on cylindrical counters, lit from their bases.
Ohno's design demonstrates the power of simplicity. By working with a few key elements and playing around with proportion he has achieved a dramatic space that also stays true to its function - which is of course to cast the merchandise in the best possible light - pardon the pun - so we are compelled to buy it. - Lisa Evans
Lovely shoes and bags will literally be on pins and needles this Saturday, when the Kymyka shoes and bags boutique opens in Maastricht, the Netherlands. The beautiful store, established by Chantal Hermans and Jurgo Mouthaan, begins its life with an impressive line-up of brands, including Dolce & Cabbana, Etro, Stella McCartney, Dsquared, YSL, Giuseppe Zanotti, Luciano Padovan and Theory. Jimmy Choo will join the list soon, as will other brands.
Hermans and Muthaan chose well when they picked the industrious Maurice Mentjens to design their store. His work has been rewarded at many design competitions, including the Dutch Design Awards in 2005, 2006 and 2007.
His design for the Stash bag shop won not just the Dutch Design Award in the Retail Category but also the German Design Award. Maurice Mentjens Design is engaged in a vast variety of project ranging from interior, exhibit, retail and hospitality design to product and furniture design. - Tuija Seipell
Related article - Shoo Biz - The World's Best
We love great retail. We want to find it; we use it as therapy, as entertainment, as an escape, as fantasy. Yet great retail stores are much scarcer than mediocre stores. We all can list many stores that underwhelm us, yet we visit them daily. Mostly, because we must. Just think of your run-of-the mill grocery store, convenience store, drug store, gas station, department store, big box.
Even the newest “concept” versions of many brands are bland, boring and basic; designed for the retailer and its suppliers, not the consumer. They are designed and re-designed without challenging old retail “truths,” and so the result is the same old.
We as consumers shop for two broad reasons: Either because we must, or because want to. We have resigned to the fact that when we shop for items we must buy – gasoline, medicine, food – the stores will not look great. And yet, we’d most likely prefer shopping at a gas station that isn’t scary, dirty, neon-lit and dull, or in a drug store that doesn’t look like a warehouse for the most powerful brands. Even in today’s multi-channel environment where consumers can stay at home and shop for necessities online, many retailers still assume that consumers don’t notice or care.
Mass-appeal stores –including gas stations, grocery, convenience and department stores – have a much wider target audience than a niche boutique, and the two groups’ challenges are different, but a consumer who shops for food does not suddenly forget his or her experience in a niche shop. The expectations, or at least the knowledge of a great experience goes everywhere with the consumer.
As business people, and as consumers, we know that retail today is more challenging and complicated than ever. Consumers shop less and demand more from each experience. They spend less and demand more value. In all categories and at all price levels, consumers look for value in the end, but value is not the same as cheap.
Value is defined by the consumer as: Is it really worth my time, attention, money? The joy, prestige and pleasure produced by a newly acquired tech-toy or pair of shoes – expensive as they may be – make them worth the price to the consumer. And if the shopping experience was awesome, we have something more to tell our friends.
Regardless of segment or even price, today’s power retail is all about authenticity, consistency and experience. Retailers must be nimble and adaptable, and evolve with consumers’ tastes and needs. Consumers can find everything online, so the in-store experience must give them something that is much, much better. Stores must be relevant, engaging, fresh. They must offer an emotional connection, interaction, excitement.
As long as our list of underwhelming stores may be, we all know some wonderful stores we’ve experienced. If you talk about your list of such favorites, most likely you will end up telling a story. It will be about the experience in the store: The way it looks, smells or feels. It will be about the staff behavior, the music, the selection, the philosophy, the brands, the changes, the activities. It has been a memorable experience in a good way. It has made an impression. You were — and are – emotionally engaged.
Whether the store is specialized in high-end fashion, cool skateboards, discount foods, knock-down furniture or exclusive art books, to the customer the overall honesty of the offering is what will bring us back. Will the components match? Is it all on the same page? Is it authentic? Can we trust them to deliver the same or more again? Today’s customer can spot an empty shell and a fake, fluffy concept easily, and when the novelty of such “concepts” wears off, the customer has no reason to return.
A retail store is not a concept, neither is it a brand. It is just one channel, one way of expressing whatever it is the consumer understands the promise to be, whatever the consumer feels the experience is going to add to his or her life. Branding, marketing, store design, merchandise selection, staff behavior, the windows, the change rooms, the website, the wrapping paper and bags, plus a million other details make up that promise, and every store visit either renews or shatters the trust.
Today, with word-of-mouth sped up by social media, bad news travels faster than ever. That can be a serious challenge, because a single bad experience can blow up and become headline news.
But good news travels faster than ever as well, and that poses another challenge to retailers. More often than not, the customer knows more about the brand, the products, and most important, the competition, than the staff. People do not need to travel the world to know about the latest, the newest, the coolest, and the best. Customers have seen more exciting stores, more creative marketing and more fun products than perhaps the typical store staff or even the managers. And if the customer is more enthusiastic and knowledgeable than the sales person, then the customer will not receive “knowledgeable service” no matter what the promotions promise.
Quoting directly from our “Power of the Box” post, we can refer to retail anthropologist Paco Underhill (author of Why we buy and Call of the mall ) and his studies and surveys on shelf impact, shopping behavior and consumer psychology. They all show that it matters what the box looks like, what it makes us feel – even when we say it doesn’t. A retail store is that box.
Also in the same post, we referred to Buyology – Truth and Lies about Why We Buy, a book by Martin Lindstrom who is now on Time magazine’s list of world’s 100 most influential people. Buyology covers the results of Lindstrom's $7-million study that attempted to figure out what really makes us vote with our wallets. The over-arching revelation – if it is indeed a revelation – is that, more often than not, we as consumers do not know why we buy. We do not know what actually affects us when we make a buying decision. But mostly it is about emotions.
When we encounter a fantastic retail store today – a store that we feel is worthy of our attention, time and money – we are really seeing a minor miracle and a major business feat. We should tell the world about it and we should demand more of it. Retailing is an extremely complicated and well-researched business, yet succeeding in it is still perhaps closer to magic than anything else. - Tuija Seipell
Knowing what’s hot is what The Cool Hunter is all about. The Cool Hunter Platinum team can help help give your new product or service the elusive C-factor — whether it’s a lifestyle product or techno-gadget, a new store or access to our little black book of collaborators to assemble the right team of creatives to realise the on-going vision of the brand.
A funky brick structure, some tires and lots of lights. These are the design elements of bow.berlin, a jewellery and leather fashion boutique and showroom that opened a few weeks ago in the famed Berlin West, aka City West.
The shop displays the work of two German designers: high-end leather bags, belts and other accessories by Michael Lawrenz and watches, jewellery and accessories by Christian Koban.
Berlin designer Neels Kattentidt conserved the character of the rough brick surfaces and cool arches of the old railway structure, and created a pared-down and funky gallery atmosphere by using the minimum of out-of-context components.
He avoided the typical sleek and glossy imagery of high-end designer boutiques by turning, with admirable innovative gusto, to cleaned-up recycled car tires.
A full four tons of tires were cut, wired, screwed and nailed to fit them with LED-lighting and back-lit white glass tops to create shelves, display tables and even chandeliers. Yes, we particularly love those chandeliers.
All in all, Berlin West is turning into a cool and chic destination and not just because it is close to the known fashion addresses of Kurfürstendamm or the transportation hub of Bahnhof Zoo.
Sports brands, even those that are not official sponsors of the World Cup soccer tournament, are taking full advantage of the global celebrations and fan enthusiasm. In New York City, Nike is making full creative use of its Nike Stadium NYC, a multi-purpose experiential environment opened at the Browery Stadium in May and designed by New York and London-based architectural firm Rafael de Cárdenas.
In Nike Stadium NYC, Cárdenas has created a soccer-inspired space that feels right in the New York environment — not glossy or overly sleek, but somewhat lived-in, hard-edged and willing to take some wear and tear. Triangular wooden blocks allow for instant creative modification of the space, as users can stack them, sit on them or create their own seating areas.
At Nike Stadium NYC, various soccer-related programs and performances in architecture, design and art are taking place all summer and into the fall. These include film screenings, match viewings and other events, all focused on exploring creative expression of soccer.
Nike Stadiums are the brand’s multi-purpose event spaces that have so far opened in Berlin, London, Milan, New York, Paris and Tokyo.
Nike Stadiums continue to reinforce Nike’s reputation as a creative supporter of soccer — something that their 2007 Cannes Lion-winning Stadium shoe box represented well. A limited number of shoe boxes were transformed to resemble a stadium with an image of a stadium and an embedded sound chip. When you opened your shoe box, you saw a miniature stadium and heard the crowd cheering, and you could imagine yourself inside a stadium cheering along or, better yet, playing on the field wearing your new Nikes. - Tuija Seipell
Established by the Berneda family in 1939, Barcelona’s own sports shoe house Munich continues to stay on top of things. In the 1970s, Munich made tracks with the Made in Barcelona footwear line and the X logo.
The Munich flagship store was designed by Ignasi Llauradó and Eric Dufourd of dear design, a design and architectural firm the two established in Barcelona in 2005.
Dark-glass surfaces, mirrors, metal trees and cage-like boxes hanging from the ceiling (from which the shoes have “escaped”), all carry a carefree, experimental and impermanent air. The angular and clunky space with its hard edges and seemingly moving parts is clearly an attempt to say that the septuagenarian brand is nowhere near slowing down. - Tuija Seipell
In 2004, fashion designer Idit Barak opened her tiny 34 square-metre store Delicatessen in her native Tel Aviv, Israel. Barak’s store fit right in with the designers, artists, boutiques and coffee shops that were slowly turning the Gan Hahasmal (=Electric Garden, named for Israel’s first power station opened in 1923) neighborhood funky after its unofficial role as Tel Aviv’s red-light district for some time.
Delicatessen drew design and fashion media attention not just for Barak’s cutting-edge fashions but also for the cool but bare-bones interior. With a measly $3,000 budget, New York-based architect, Z-Astudio created the interior and displays in the two-storey-high space using two main elements — cardboard tubes (from inside fabric bolts) and linoleum, draped like fabric around displays.
Now, five years later, Gan Hahasmal is one of the coolest destinations for Tel Aviv’s fashionable and funky, and Zucker has recreated Delicatessen’s interior magic, this time with a $10,000 budget. Starting from the same philosophy of “more design, less material” Zucker’s team continued the idea of “draping” but this time it took the form of robing the entire space in white, custom-perforated, back-lit pegboard. The white board provides a lacy background for the fashions, and the board’s functionality gives unlimited display flexibility. Yellow paint indicates glimpses of the space’s “undergarments,” and recycled and found furnishings and accessories complete the eclectic look.
The 34-year-old Barak spent nearly a decade in New York, studying at the Fashion Institute of Technology and later learning with illustrator Ruben Toledo and fashion designer Isabel Toledo, and with at Norma Kamali. Idit Barak’s Delicatessen line is sold in boutiques across Israel and in New York.- Tuija Seipell
British jewelry designer Solange Azagury-Partridge’s London flagship store is now open on the luxe Bond Street. In her typical fashion, Azagury-Partridge has handled the interior and furnishing design herself.
The store has the same luscious, red-velvet jewelry box feel as her first store that opened in 1995 in Notting Hill (and moved to Westbourne Grove in 2005). The most fantastic feature of the new store is the carpet. It stands out in Azagury-Partridge’s signature style – it is almost too much, but not quite. It brings a smile to your face, makes you look again. That’s the “rock-star” quality that everyone mentions about her work.
The first floor of the two-storey boutique offers an impressive meeting of theatrical and whimsical. Absolutely everything has been choreographed and specially made for the space. Downstairs is a private-member-style, discreet enclave of hidden doors, alcoves and padded walls. The ceiling is adorned with 600,000 Swarovski crystals.
When Azagury-Partridge launched her own jewelry line in 1990, she was completely self-taught. The first piece she had ever designed was her own engagement ring only three years earlier. She has been quoted as saying that “The advantages of being self-taught are that I have no preconceptions or received opinions about the rules of jewellery. Being an outsider is my raison d’être.” - Tuija Seipell
Elegance, minimalism, form-and-function – you know our favorites already. So it comes as no surprise that we like Muriel Grateau’s newly minimalized boutique/gallery at 37 Rue de Beaune in Paris.
Grateau, the queen of the minimalist table setting and sculptural Art Deco jewelry, has had a shop in Paris since 1992 (at this address since 1997) and this fall’s boutique refurbishment was undertaken in celebration of her two decades here.
Displaying her 100 shades of table linen and her subtle, unobtrusive tableware in an all-white setting is not terribly original or imaginative, but it does seem to be perfect for the purpose.
Taking a page from the tested-and-true Japanese book of the art of the minimalist display, Grateau deletes absolutely everything that is not the focal point, i.e. the items on display.
Her goal was to evoke a feeling of floating, to imply that the pieces are unattached and unrestrained by mere surfaces or walls.
Materials such as white mineral resin, stones covered with white powdered paint, white lacquered steel plate and LED lighting were used to create the ethereal 140 square-meter space.
Attending the September 19th re-launch party were design luminaires including Tristan Auer, Lorenz Baümer, Jean Louis Deniot, Hervé Van der Straeten, Chahan Minassian, Juan Montoya, Hervé Van der Straeten, Charles Zana and Pierre Yovanovitch. - Tuija Seipell. (Pics - Oleg Covian)
The Moscow-based Podium Fashion Groupl is involved in numerous fashion ventures, but what caught our eye is the Podium 1 jewellery store in Paris (at 334, rue St.-Honore, Paris 1er, right across from Colette). The tiny shop (50 square metres) oozes glamour and old money, patina and luxury.
The rich feel is created through textured wallpaper, dark antique or aged wood furnishings, curved vitrines, thick-glass cabinets with hand-tooled iron pulls, plus a massive armoire standing on curled legs and sporting Gothic arches. The slightly mad and eccentric, yet visually cohesive neogothic interior and furnishings are by Moscow-based Artbureau I/1 (“one over one”) whose eight principals create both private and commercial interiors and architecture.
Podium’s Paris store is a space for one-of-a-kind, hand-crafted pieces created with rare or antique techniques by jewellery names such as Loree Rodkin whose pieces recently adorned Michelle Obama at the inauguration ball and Cher on the cover of Architectural Digest. Tuija Seipell
Kirk Originals eyewear company opened its London flagship store on Conduit Street in the West End this week with a swanky launch party.
London-based Campaign designed the pared-down, dramatic retail environment of the 66 square-meter boutique.
The black-and-white color palette, only one eyewear wall with 187 “heads” for frames, and practically no furnishings ensure that customers will focus on the eyewear, not the trappings. Eye examinations and fitting take place in the basement, away from the main display space. Large graphics of winking eyes in the window speak the same, clear language leaving no doubt about what they sell.
Established more than two decades ago, Kirk Originals is still run by Jason and Karen Kirk from their home near Bordeaux, France. Kirk Originals are available in more than 40 countries. - Tuija Seipell
Not so long ago, we noticed the handiwork of Deardesign when they created the Munich sports shoe concept store in Barcelona’s massive L’illa Diagonal.
Now Ignasi Llauradó and Eric Dufourd, the founders of the Barcelona-based design and architecture studio, have completed another flagship store in the same mall. This time, the store belongs to local fashion brand Lurdes Bergada, Syngman Cucala, established by the 30-year fashion veteran, Lurdes Bergada.
In keeping with the fashion brand’s industrial and minimalistic style, Deardesign created a vast hangar-like feel by including all of the functions of the store – both client-facing and back-room – under one roof, but separating them with a curving wall.
This wall, created with 1,000 pieces of beech wood screwed together by 2,400 screws, forms an igloo-like huge presence and becomes a focal point that emphasizes the size of the entire space. Each piece of wood is unique and each piece is visibly numbered – a necessary technical detail for building the wall and a creative design idea to expose the “making of” and to bring attention to the construction features. The use of concrete, wood and cement further adds to the warehouse-like atmosphere.
The clothing brand is all about simple, clean lines and technical ability, and the industrial feel of the store interior echoes this beautifully.
Lurdes Bergada and her son, Syngman Cucala, are known for the practicality and high quality of their fashionable clothing for both men and women, sold in their five stores (including two in Madrid) of which the first opened in 1978.
For Deardesign, this flagship is an impressive addition to their already impressive retail client list that includes LVMH Group, Burberry, Nike and Sephora. Ignasi Llauradó is an industrial designer educated in Barcelona and Eric Dufourd is a Paris-trained interior designer. They established Deardesign in 2005. - Tuija Seipell
We are seeing more and more stores and services dedicated solely to the fine things in life for men. Salons, shops and spas are realizing that men have been treated like second-class citizens when it comes to luxurious, beautiful retail environments.
There are millions of sports bars, car dealerships, gyms and hardware stores, but that is definitely not all that men need and want. At New York Fashion Week, British luxury men’s brand Alfred Dunhill showcased its Winter 2010 collection in a vacant Meatpacking District warehouse transformed into a pop-up shop.
With aluminum panels and projection technology, London-based design workshop Campaign created an environment that brought a little bit of Dunhill’s London flagship store to New York.
Alfred Dunhill, who joined his father’s saddlery business in 1887, and planned to change the company’s focus toward the pioneering motorist, said it very well: “It is not enough to expect a man to pay for the best, you must also give him what he has paid for...” We think men are ready to pay for the best -- and “the best” includes the environment in which he spends his money. - Tuija Seipell
The first OHWOW Book Club has opened its doors in a tiny 150 square-foot space in New York’s Greenwich Village. The retail space is located below street level in a historic brownstone on Waverly Place.
The black-and-white tiled floor and the turquoise walls create a decidedly aquatic mood although the designer, Rafael de Cárdenas, was thinking less of marine habitats and more of a classic pre-war NYC water closet when he themed the space.
Experience designer/architect Rafael de Cárdenas of Architecture At Large is a master of creating moods. In OHWOW Book Club, he has explored not only the sensations of disorientation and floating through neon lighting and random wall color patterns and placement of shelves, but also the feel of direction through the Navajo carpet-like tile pattern of the floor.
All of these themes are evident also in OHWOW’s Miami exhibition space at NW 7 Avenue, that de Cárdenas designed in 2008 and to which the Miami Art Basel crowd took right away.
OHWOW (Our House West of Wynwood) is a collaborative creative enterprise conceived by New York’s event impresario Aaron Bondaroff and Miami art and publishing powerhouse Al Moran. - Tuija Seipell
Paris has now joined Beijing, Beirut, Buenos Aires, Doha, Dubai, Florence, Geneva, Hong Kong, Los Angeles, Macao, Madrid, Moscow, New York, Portofino, Riyadh, Shanghai and Tokyo as a location of an Officine Panerai watch boutique.
The Parisian shop opened in September in the 1st arrondissement on Rue de la Paix's jewellery row, between Place Vendôme and Opéra Garnier.
The Italian company was founded in Florence in 1860 by Giovanni Panerai. It became the official supplier of the Italian Navy and continued to build various precision instruments for the army's diving corps. Panerai remained relatively unknown in the civilian world until its bulky watches were brought to popular attention by Sylvester Stallone who wore a Panerai Luminor watch during the shooting of the movie Daylight in Rome. Stallone then ordered and signed a special batch of the watches called Slytech. He gave them to his friends, including Arnold Schwarzenegger. Stallone has since worn many Panerais, including the largest Panerai wrist watch, the limited-edition Panerai Egiziano, with a face that is 60mm in diameter.
The interior of the 41 square-meter Parisian boutique echoes Panerai's naval traditions by emphasizing precision and quality, and featuring such materials as teak and steel. - Bill Tikos
Luxury jewelry and giftware stores are waking up. They have been as traditionally stuffy as banks in their design, but their globe-trotting clientele is demanding an upgrade. Bored out of their minds, they want an edge, a spark, a something, to break up the monotony and to add some interest.
We've featured a few, including Octium in Kuwait,- Podium Paris and Solange Azagury-Partridge London and here is another to add to that list: The two-level Faraone jewelery boutique in Milan, on Via Montenapoleone, envisioned by architect Massimo Iosa Ghini. whose retail design work includes showrooms for Maserati and Ferrari.
At Faraone, his subdued, metallic setting for the items on display symbolizes the precious-metal setting of a ring or pendant that sets out the stones, engraving and minute details.
There is also a cool, retro factor, reminiscent of the mysterious estate jewelry areas in luxury department stores of the past. The soft nappa leather chairs and the tone-on-tone carpeting add to the feel of being inside a jewelry box. - Tuija Seipell.
In a refreshing departure from the now so routine dark-mahogany “men’s club” feel of men’s stores, New York-based architect and interior designer Rafael de Cárdenas of Architecture At Large approached Cape Town’s Unknown Union with a much lighter touch.
The two-level boutique, located in a historic building, exudes light and color. On the first level, white walls serve as the background to the pared-down stacked-box shelving painted in softly muted yet vibrant colors. This simplified setting, gives the owners, Sean Shuter and Daniel Jackson, an ideal showcase for the brands that they represent, including ANYthing, Pendleton, Surface to Air, and Penfield USA.
The second level is an ever-changing, creative space, where local and international creators and artist showcase their work. The opening event for the space featured the work of Rafael de Cárdenas/Architecture at Large, Gazelle, Surface to Air, Milkbeard, Cornrow Rider and THECAST. - Tuija Seipell.
OUKAN 71 is an intriguing addition to the sophisticated shopping area around Friedrichstrasse in Berlin. OUKAN 71 combines a fashion and art showroom/shop with a tea room and restaurant. Located on Kronenstrasse 71 (Kronen Strasse means Crown Street in German, and Oukan is Japanese for crown), the boutique has a fascinating background.
When the earthquake and tsunami cancelled the Tokyo Fashion Week in March last year, a group of Japanese designers were looking for a place to showcase their work. Berlin answered, and a charity project, Tokyo Gakudan (Tokyo Orchestra), was presented at the Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Berlin in July 2011, with 40 Japanese designers showing their collections.
Natalie Viaux and Huy Thong Tran Mai were responsible of the Tokyo Gakudan Runway Show at Mercedes-Benz Studio. They are also the masterminds behind OUKAN 71, inspired by the fashion show.
On two open-concept floors, OUKAN 71 offers a constantly changing selection of fashion, accessories and design, much of it currently Scandinavian, but all with a Japanese feel. The Tea Bar Restaurant serves raw, vegan, vegetarian and fish breakfast and lunch dishes by chef-patissier Eriko Ohsawa, formerly of Tim Raue’s MA and UMA restaurants. - Tuija Seipell
Toronto’s latest TA-ZE store, at 120 Adelaide Street West, is only 800 square feet in size, but it is airy and uncluttered. TA-ZE is a chain of retail stores focusing on premium olive oils and related product.
Ta-ze means fresh in Turkish, and the company is rooted in the long traditions of olive-oil production. Its product comes from six provinces in the Aegean region of Turkey, from 33 co-operatives that include more than 28,000 olive producers.
The purity and clarity of the oil is reflected in the minimalist store concept designed by Toronto-based Burdifilek, led by managing partner Paul Filek, and creative partner Diego Burdi. They are also responsible for retail design for W Hotels, Holt Renfrew department stores, Club Monaco and Joe Fresh, among others. - Bill Tikos
The cool story of David Webb, jewelry designer since 1948 to elite stars, socialites and others who love bold statement pieces, continues beautifully today.
With the 2010 change in ownership – from the Silberstein family to Sima Ghadamian, Mark Emanuel and Robert Sadian – the New York tradition has managed to hold the attention of the luxury jewelry buyer from Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis and Elizabeth Taylor to Gwen Stefani and Jennifer Lopez.
The most recent buzz around David Webb is not about the iconic pieces’ animal and other organic forms or the incredibly rich settings of precious stones, but about the design of the Madison Avenue Flagship boutique, above which the artisans still work in the in-house atelier.
Designed by architect Peter Pennoyer with interior design by Katie Ridder, the boutique seems more like a mansion or series of salons, and less like a store or showroom. With prices starting at $4,000, the David Webb pieces require surroundings that are both luxurious and intimate. Pennoyer and Ridder have achieved an edgy ease that lets the jewelry remain the center of attention. - Tuija Seipell
UK-based shoe and accessory retailer Kurt Geiger has been rolling out its new retail store concept in the UK and around the world with the help of its long-time collaborators at Found Associates of London.
Kurt Geiger’s flagship store and headquarters at 198 Regent Street in London’s West End is a glamorous shoe emporium within a five-storey historically protected building.
Red carpet covers the ramp leading to the men’s department, and it also links visually to the red glass walls at the rear of the store. The walls are lined with dark grey glass shelves forming a beautifully formal “library of shoes.”
Mirrors and glass, and the colours red, white and black create the entire visual structure of the store, allowing the shoes to remain the main focus. The Kurt Geiger Regent Street store occupies 2,800 square feet (260 square meters) of space.
The other main store in London, the 4,000 square-foot (371 square meters) Covent Garden store, is a maze of mirrors circling around a massive staircase.
The mirrors, distorting the space and creating infinite reflections, are all the props that are needed to create a luxurious, fantastical environment.
This Covent Garden store received RetailWeek’s 2011 Fashion Retail Interior of the Year award.- Bill Tikos
Complicated is easy, minimalist is difficult. Even more difficult is minimalist design that stands out. That is why we love this little contact lens shop in Tel Aviv, Israel. It is a store concept for Adashot by EyeCare designed by Lee-Ran Shlomi Gidron of Tel Aviv-based Miss Lee Design.
It is apparently the first and only store in Israel that sells nothing but contact lenses. And that posed the main challenge of this project: How to display something as tiny and indistinguishable as contact lenses?
To start, Miss Lee created a word cloud to describe contact lenses: Cleanliness, Transparency, Clarity, Reflection, Gliding, Lightness and Tension between black &white. From that, the two main design elements emerged: The embossed-digits-wall inspired by sight tests, and the six light fixtures with concave mirrors. Minimalist, beautiful and stunning. - Tuija Seipell
Matching optional, mixing mandatory. Straight-laced or upscale are definitely not the main characteristics of the target audience of Spicy Color’s peppy and girly clothing store in Seoul, Korea.
The candy-coloured “fashion playground” shop expresses the brand’s sweet and happy mantra of “joy.play.love.” with a pop-art retro vibe.
Students, most likely female, will find themselves completely at home in this slightly messy, dorm-room environment with its mix-and-match, low-brow fixtures, gooey colors and “wastebasket” lighting.
Everything is light-weight and mobile or moveable, making it easy to create new, unexpected displays every week. The various sections of the store have different textures and materials, tiles, brick, wood, metal, adding another dimension to the multi-function space.
The website repeats the same feel: a dated yellow typewriter, a yellow scooter, big dice, a shoe-shaped pink armchair, a retro guitar — it all reminds us of cast-offs, second-hand finds and an adventurous creative spirit.
It reflects student days of low budget and high spirits. Ice cream and yogurt, balloons, cupcakes, jellybeans – the vibe invites us to expect something yummy and bouncy, slightly indulgent and perhaps even a bit naughty.
The clothing is equally fun and colourful, and the entire brand approach is spelled out as “fashion is play.” The design of the store is by local design firm m4, under the direction of Kwang-Hyun Han and Yun Young-Sub. - Tuija Seipell.
Mats Sjöqvist together with brothers Mårten and Olle Eriksson-Mårtens attracted a solid following of well-dressed men to their first menswear boutique, Herrekipering (haberdasher in Swedish), on Kocksgatan 17 in Stockholm’s Södermalm district.
Earlier this year, they expanded the business by opening their second and much bigger store, Haberdash, on Upplandsgatan 50, in the Vasastan area of Stockholm. In the process, they renamed the first shop Haberdash as well.
We love the functional, minimalist interior of the new boutique, completed by Stockholm’s Form Us With Love (FUWL).
The materials and details of the store design speak the same language as the brands represented in the store, the language of timeless style, long-term value, functionality, quality and artisanship.
The underlying goal of all of the displays is to allow the customer to see and examine each item completely. So FUWL created a stylized, minimalist craftsman’s studio, with the items displayed on magnified pegboards, simple workbench-like counters and basic square shelving.
Materials, such as Silestone Quartz, Kährs ash and Tärnsjö Tannery leather are used for displays and surfaces. The “bare-bulb” pendant lighting is FUWL’s own Form for Design House Stockholm.
The esteemed brands sold at Haberdash include the French Armor Lux sailor sweaters made famous by Pablo Picasso, Brooks bicycle saddles and accessories from the UK, and Grundén raingear from Sweden.
FUWL is a multi-discipline design house established in 2005 by fellow students of product design at Småland’s Kalmar University, John Löfgren, Jonas Pettersson and Petrus Palmén. - Tuija Seipell
In the past few years, forerunners in the niche hospitality business have been tripping over each other in their attempts to create the next “un-hotel.” Their goal has been to take the mind-numbing sameness of resorts and big hotels, and the litany of empty and unbroken service promises, out of hotel stays by creating unusual overnight accommodation and unexpected twists.
Many are geared toward the in-the-know frequent traveller who appreciates design, art and pop culture. Themed rooms, completely personalized hotel stays, unexpected common areas, unusual pairings of boutiques, restaurants, art and rooms have all resulted from this un-hotel wave.
Two weeks ago, people who love all things Droog gained their own example of this. They now have yet another reason to fly to Amsterdam as they now can stay the night – if they are extremely lucky - at Hôtel Droog’s singular guest room.
Hôtel Droog is the Droog brand’s first foray into the hospitality business, if that’s what this emporium of fashionably cool shops should be called. It is perhaps more like a funky little department store and less like a hotel.
Drawn in by the mid-century modernist Scandinavian undertow, guests of Hôtel Droog are in for much more than overnight accommodation. The hotel part of Hôtel Droog is more of a clever afterthought than the main attraction as it consists of only one suite, located on the topmost floor of the 17th century building, the former home of the city’s textile guild.
In addition to the guest suite, the 700 square meter (753 sq.ft) space that is Hôtel Droog includes, in an all-white casings, a Droog store offering the staples by the Droog designers, a fashion store K A B I N E T created by Amsterdam-based Ferry van der Nat, a Cosmania cosmetics boutique and also a product display area for Weltevree.
Resting from their spending spree, guests without the privilege of a suite upstairs can rest in the dining room or in the fantastic garden created by Claude Pasquer and Corrine Detroyat, the darlings of the Chaumont Garden Festival. We bet the Hôtel Droog concept has staying power and we envision additional suites, possibly in the nearby buildings. - Tuija Seipell
Yes, yes! We LOVE the cool, clean, minimalist interior (no news here to our readers) of the brand-new 100 square-meter retail store, the HITGallery, opened at the end of September in the Times Square shopping center in Hong Kong.
The elegantly retro store, designed by the talented Milan-based architect and designer, Fabio Novembre, is the first iteration of a new global multi-brand retail concept of the Pettoranello-based fashion house, Ittierre S.p.A. Ittierre holds the licenses, manufacturers and markets several brands, including Aquascutum, C’n’C Costume National, Galliano, GF Ferré, Fiorucci, Karl Lagerfeld Paris, Pierre Balmain and Tommy Hilfiger Collection. The latest brand to sign with Ittierre is Jean Paul Gaultier, with his men’s collection launching in Fall/Winter 2013-14.
The HITGallery boutiques, slated to open around the globe, feature\s several, if not all, of the lines Ittiere represents. The next store in line will be the Milan flagship but in the meanwhile, Ittierre has just opened a 1,000-square-meter temporary store, IT'S 30 MANZONI, at Palazzo Scotti Gallarati in Milan's luxury neighborhood.
In a media release, Fabio Novembre is quoted as saying that The HITGallery stores capture the essence and spirit of Italy by, for example, taking inspiration from the surreal atmospheres of the artist Giorgio De Chirico.
He continues: “Upon entering the concept store in Hong Kong, people will promptly notice the strong Italian imprint of the architectural design’s classical matrix: symmetrical structure, row of arches, one dominant hue offset by two-tone flooring. The color defining the walls – a neutral shade bordering between green and sky or cerulean blue – defies classification, so becoming the ideal backdrop for all the brands sold in the store.”
We love the uncluttered feel, the delicious Casamania Her chair (also by Novembre) and the complete lack of brand-clutter, especially signs and logos. The latter, of course, will pose the most massive of all retail challenges that trumps all design and merchandising feats: The need to provide relevant and sincerely customer-centric service. Don’t even get us started on THAT topic! - Tuija Seipell
Photography by Dennis Lo
Viennese mums and dads have yet another option to spoil their offspring: Bambini in central Vienna at Tuchlauben 7.
The interior of the 360 square-meter (3875 sq.ft) multi-level emporium of children’s high-end fashion was entirely custom-designed by the 12-year-old Viennese firm, Architektur Denis Kosutic, for the Vienna-based MB Fashion GmbH.
Carrying such brands as Armani Junior, Fendi, Gucci, La Perla, Roberto Cavalli, Versace Young and Missoni, this is MB Fashion’s first shop of the Bambini concept.
Kosutic and collaborators Mareike Kuchenbecker and Carina Haberl took a Wizard-of-Oz/Alice-in-Wonderland/Jules Verne approach yet cooled the usual colour riot of kiddie stores down into a junior film noir environment
Everything from wall and floor treatments to furnishings and display elements was created specifically for this store.
With smoky grey as the main hue, the space is both imaginatively fun and slightly scary – and we all know that most kids love to be scared, if they feel safe.
There are surprises and details that don’t quite match, which makes the space interesting and fun, yet keeps the tone down at a tolerable level.
The custom-created surreal flowers-and-lollipops pattern appears in various places and at different scales throughout the store. Cage-like pillars made of copper tubing create the central merchandise displays and evoke a feeling of retro-futuristic submarine vehicles.
Velvet draping, soft floorcoverings and smooth surfaces on some furnishings add a softness to temper the hard and shiny metallic components.
Also custom-designed are the friezes of mushrooms, lollipops and pears, and seating shaped like bananas, strawberries, lemons and plums.
The designers aimed for a space that would “allow adults to be kids and kids to be adults.” We think they have succeeded. - Tuija Seipell.
Photographer: Lea Titz
Opening Ceremony has relocated its flagship store from Shibuya to Omotesando to the home of street fashion on Cat’s Alley. The new Tokyo flagship store sees OC founders Humberto Leon and Carol Lim realise yet another temple to their love of out-of-the-box fashion.
Alongside neighbours such as Ragtag, Burton and Paul Smith Jeans, the new store is 1200 square-metres (12,917 sq.ft.) over four themed floors (rather than Shibuya’s much larger eight-floor store).
The interior reflects the younger, edgier fashion crowd that swarms Harajuku’s streets each weekend and the stock has a strong Tokyo flavour with special collections by Yoko Ono, Dallas-born, Tokyo-based Kiko Mizuhara and OC favorite Chloe Sevigny. A pastel palette of lilacs, pinks and baby blues is offset by neon, wild cabinetry, Ben-Day dots and Pop Art inspired staircases.
Each floor showcases Opening Ceremony’s unmistakable fashion edit; high-fashion plus cult brands including Alexander Wang, Carven, Christopher Kane, Phillip Lim and Proenza Shouler mixed in with the Opening Ceremony clothing lines, fresh, up-and-comers and their perfume collaboration with Le Labo.
The zoological-themed floor features ostriches, llamas and striking wooden horse jewelry cabinets showing off limited edition pieces.
The store is unmistakably Tokyo-style and there is a reason why retailers are looking to Tokyo and the OC founders for inspiration. Leon and Lim’s have their fingers on the pulse of global fashion, they collaborate with the likes of Martin Margiela, Adidas and Rodarte whilst revitalising the Kenzo fashion house. And still manage to kit Beyonce out in custom Kenzo. - Emily Ross