As recessionary woes ease, businesses are turning to unique and cutting-edge store design to draw attention. Footwear News highlights seven recent retail debuts that use cultural inspirations, vivid colors and eco-friendly materials to revamp or create an entirely new buying experience.
The Vision: When United Nude made its U.S. debut last month, the retailer aimed to create a shop with a classic cinema-like feel by playing up the contrast between light and dark.
The Goods: United Nude’s full line of women’s shoes are available, as well as a selection of Stealth hats made specifically for the Bond Street location. Next March, the retailer will add a line of men’s shoes to the 1,800-sq.-ft. space.
The Design: With co-founder and Creative Director Rem D. Koolhaas behind the design, the space features a wall of light that contrasts with the dark feel of the shop, leaving only the product illuminated. The shoes sit in cubes on a shelving formation, which feature a computer-controlled lighting system in bright colors such as green, pink and blue. In the middle of the sales floor is a steel sculpture of a Lamborghini, giving the space a very modern and flashy feel.
The Vision: The Geox team set out to communicate the brand’s eco-friendly philosophy when the store opened in February in the Breathing Building. It also aimed to illustrate its two main product concepts: breathability and Italian fashion.
The Goods: Geox offers its full line of footwear and apparel for women, men and children.
The Design: Paolo Cermasi of Paolo Cermasi & Associates headed up the design team and focused on timely trends. At older locations, Geox worked with dark walls and black shelves, but for this project, it switched to a nature-driven vibe. To achieve this, the three-story, 9,000-sq.-ft. space presents product in a simple and sophisticated way, using mostly natural woods and fabrics in almost all white for a bright décor. On the outside of the building is a panel system that creates air ventilation designed to conserve electricity.
West Hollywood, Calif.
The Vision: The designer wanted to play up the Hollywood lifestyle, finding inspiration in classic films and artists.
The Goods: The space, open since September, houses all the Christian Louboutin signature footwear styles, as well as handbags and clutches.
The Design: At the entrance of the 1,800-sq.-ft. Robertson Boulevard shop is an iron gate embedded with the brand logo, similar to that of Paramount Studios. Created by New York-based design firm 212box, the shop features white ceramic tiles on one side in the first room, with encrypted numbers and symbols representing a “signature Louboutin language.” The middle room houses a tin-panel cash wrap that doubles as a bar. Hand-blown glass bubbles lead customers to the second floor, where the retail rooms and VIP lounge are located.
The Vision: New Balance worked to provide customers with a unique shopping experience, while remaining true to its century-old image as a sporting brand. The store is one of 50 “past, present, future” locations opened within the last nine months.
The Goods: The shop, which bowed in February and spans more than 2,000 square feet, displays New Balance’s full product line, including footwear, apparel and sports accessories.
The Design: Brick walls, wooden display windows, old telephones and iron chandeliers line the space, created in collaboration with KDS Design. A panoramic fixture travels along the ceiling in a spiral design and subtly explains the New Balance story to the residents of Shanghai, said Bob Neville, New Balance global retail creative director. The store also features handmade and hand-painted resin replicas of shoemaking memorabilia, as well as shoes from both past and present.
Shoebox New York
The Vision: Flexibility was a big focus when Shoebox unveiled its new retail concept in October. By using more than 200 adjustable wall panels, the store can switch out merchandise with the changing seasons, while also experimenting with various colors and materials.
The Goods: About half of the product mix is Camuto Group brands, including Arturo Chiang, Tory Burch and Vince Camuto. Customers also can find an assortment of Shoebox’s private label, as well as a selection of designer footwear and handbags.
The Design: The 1,500-sq.-ft. shop showcases a bright and vibrant mixture of purple, pink and green. Shoebox founder and partner Richard Kirshenbaum worked with Brooklyn, N.Y.-based designer Sergio Mannino and retail partners The Camuto Group and NexCen Brands Inc. to target a young-yet-sophisticated audience. The wall panels are made of linoleum, lacquer and plastic laminate and act as the standout pieces in an otherwise simple space. The floor comes from Italy and includes grain that is made of recycled aluminum, embedded in the ceramic tile.
The Vision: After 38 years in business, The Tannery set out to create a one-stop shop, with three different boutiques and concepts under one roof.
The Goods: Each level of the store offers a wide selection, including Red Wing and Wolverine on the bottom floor, along with denim and apparel; Frye, Salvatore Ferragamo and Sorel on the main Tannery floor, with handbags from Botkier and Gryson; and on the top floor, in the “Curated” section, high-end brands such as Lanvin and Alexander McQueen.
The Design: Company founder Sam Hassan and his nephew, Tarek, worked with Soldier Design to create the 21,000-sq.-ft. store, which opened in November. It marks the largest location for the independent chain. The interior is modern and sleek, with a central staircase, wood cabinets and white resin cubes that line the floors. The newest addition, the “Wilderness Workshop,” will launch on the bottom level in August, touting the Americana and heritage trends. The space will evoke a wine-cellar feel and include a coffee bar lounge.
Dubai, United Arab Emirates
The Vision: Staying true to the classic look of Bloomingdale’s, while adding an additional level of luxury for the lifestyle of Dubai, was a priority with this project.
The Goods: Women’s footwear includes Jimmy Choo, Gucci, Ruthie Davis, Jerome C. Rousseau and others, and men’s styles are from Pierre Hardy, Santoni and more. The full store, which bowed in February, also includes clothing and accessories.
The Design: Inspired by existing stores in New York and San Francisco, Bloomingdale’s first international store in the Middle East has a contemporary look, featuring the signature black-and-white checkerboard floors. The women’s shoe department is lined with walls of glowing white acrylic. Chromes and geometric patterns act as transparent wall screens to segment the shoes. Created with Callison Architecture Inc. and RYA Studio, with direction from the Bloomingdale’s team, the space also features high ceilings adorned with Arabic patterns.