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
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
As we have seen in various posts here on The Cool Hunter, footwear has become a genre of art all of its own.
Much like how the simple need for shelter has crescendoed into superfluous McMansions, the shoe started out as a humble necessity: to keep the toes out of harm's way. Currently - as anyone who's purchased a pair of platform sneakers or sky-high stilettos can attest - a need for beauty and style has far overshadowed the trivial want for comfort.
Oscar Wilde once professed, "One should either be a work of art, or wear a work of art". The financially fortunate seem to agree, with well-manicured feet peeking from artistic footwear worth their weight in rubies and diamonds. Cobbler extraordinaire Stuart Weitzman took this tendency to an unprecedented pinnacle with the unveiling of his "Cinderella Slippers" which were worn by singer Alison Krauss at the 2004 Oscars ceremony and priced at $2M.
Thankfully, enjoying the art of footwear is not limited to those of stratospheric bank accounts. The need for fashionable shoe has crossed all social boundaries. From retro-style sneakers to high-end designer fashion heels, shoes are a major part of the international fashion market, and shoe sales are a serious indicator of status and sub-culture.
Naturally, the shoe store has evolved, side-by-side, into an equally stylish hub of modern fashion. No matter if you're talking about a pair Jimmy Choo wedges (a must on the streets of Manhattan) or a rare collectable pair of original 1972 Adidas sneakers — there is a carefully manicured storeroom and market-analyzed price tag for each.
So what's your favourite shoe store?
We want to see stores that feature the most original display and merchandising techniques out there.
From sneaker shops to high-end department stores to exclusive boutiques, if you know of a great candidate then send us an e-mail
A fantastic array of imaginary projects keeps materializing from the hands and mind of the talented Jaime Hayón. The Madrid, Spain-born designer’s work covers practical — and impractical — objects, sets, stores, art and graphics. In addition to retail and restaurant environments, he has created furniture for Pallucco, shoes and sets for Camper, designer toys, various kinds of art, and exhibitions including “Mediterranean Digital Baroque” at London’s David Gill Gallery, and “Mon Cirque,” presented in Frankfurt, Barcelona, Paris and Kuala Lumpur.
A retro film-star sensibility joins a more ornate and traditional luxury vibe in the Octium boutique, for which nearly everything was custom-designed — from the furnishings, textiles and display elements to the lighting fixtures and wall treatments. And although within this fantasy world, each selection of jewelry has its own unique display environment, the overall atmosphere manages to seem calm and the look harmonious. The jewelry on display includes the Octium Collection, exclusive pieces, as well as selections from Hanna Martin, Ivanka Trump and Pipa Small and others. - 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
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
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