The past month has seen many exciting big-name brand openings, among them Nike’s digital enriched NikeLab in New York and Zara’s impressive Madrid flagship. Here are June’s best new retail experiences…
Nike launched the first of its NikeLab hubs in New York, ahead of its London, Paris, Milan, Hong Kong and Shanghai locations. The store represents the merging of Nike’s physical spaces and digital experiences, and will be where avid brand fans can access the latest innovations and products. This latest retail venture aims to strengthen the brand’s relationship with shoppers on various levels, curating its product offer to match sport, design and culture aspirations, and inviting shopper feedback and collaboration.
New York’s SoHo district saw the opening of Maison Martin Margiela’s lower-priced diffusion line MM6 last month. The 1,400sqft store is housed in a 20th-century building and is purposely unfurnished to match the minimalist design of the products. Grey walls are overlaid with white metal grids that extend onto the ceiling. One of our favourite features is the white trompe l’œil concrete carpet that is used to break up the light wooden flooring.
April saw the opening of Zara’s highest profile outlet in Madrid. The 1920s store has been modernised inside, yet retains the building’s original brickwork. The six-storey eco-efficient flagship store is a retail and commercial space; the first five floors are dedicated to women’s, men’s and children’s fashion, and the sixth floor serves as a showroom.
Dutch design magazine Frame has created a “surreal world of reflecting elements” with its first pop-up. Open until autumn 2014, the store occupies the grand 18th-century Felix Meritis building in Amsterdam and acts as a walk-in magazine, staging new design talent and products from fashion, art, media, beauty and food. Our favourite store feature is the large mirrors, which represent the reflection of time and history – the old architecture versus the new products – and conceal the changing rooms and hidden exhibition spaces.
Specialising in handbags and shoes, Phillip Lim’s 3:1 pop-up store in Isetan department store, Tokyo, is the first of five store designs that will occupy the space over the next four months. Each store concept is designed in response to a brief of ‘almost’ opposing words: dynamic/effortless, youth/elegance, classic/madness, luxury/pragmatic, and sees the space divided into two zones to emphasise the relationship between A and B. We feel the standout design feature is the ceiling of needle-light pendant lights, reflecting the mirrors and amplifying the theatre of the space.
The Pool concept store utilises a disused residential swimming pool in a 1970s apartment block in the Aoyama district of Tokyo. The store – the outcome of a collaboration between musician and style icon Hiroshi Fujiwara and Jun, one of Japan’s largest retailers – carries a rotating collection of curated streetwear designers as well as lifestyle products. We love this store because it embraces the existing architecture of the swimming pool with a glinting glass floor applied to mimick the water that used to inhabit the space.
After recently opening a German flagship in Berlin, Uniqlo tackled the French capital with a fifth store spanning 8,800sqft of a 19th-century refurbished factory in the historic Le Marais area in Paris. Natural daylight pours into the store via the pitched roof skylights and an original 35m red brick chimney is a main feature situated at the heart of the store. Despite the vast size of the space, Uniqlo has managed to remain discrete in an area better known for independent stores with exterior signage drastically reduced compared to alternative locations.
The Serbian fashion designer Roksanda Ilinics’ new London flagship reflects the geometric essence of her fashion designs to act as an environmental extension of her clothing. The walls and product display plinths are made from slabs of staggered concrete, which create a three-dimensional pattern and are complemented by a fantastic marble herringbone floor. The use of a neutral interior palette upstairs allows the clothing to take centre stage, whereas downstairs in the VIP space the room is made up of vibrant fabric colour blocks of yellow, pink, purple and maroon.