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5 Creative Retail Fitouts That Overshadow Their Products

RETAIL

As online shopping becomes an increasing threat for retail stores, the industry is feeling the pressure to innovate to draw crowds.

These 5 retail stores will make you want to travel half way around the world to shop at them - regardless of what they sell.
Aesop, Melbourne



Opening in late-2007, Aesop’s Flinders Lane store has wowed customers with its interior fashioned almost entirely from industrial-grade cardboard, from the serving counter to the display shelves.



The store was constructed in 5 days by architect Rodney Eggleston as an ingenious solution to Aesop’s challenge for a swift transformation, Eggleston and his staff folded, constructed and mounted 3000 cardboard boxes – the kind used to ship Aesop products. The cardboard has proved to be sturdy, practical and visually compatible with Aesop’s distinctive packaging.


Diesel Denim Gallery, Tokyo



With a shop concept of “denims displayed as art works”, this stylish two storey building doubles as a gallery spaces for in-store installations and art exhibitions, featuring the most prestigious items of the Diesel brand.


The gallery is known as a gateway to success for new artists and architects, and has featured a number of talented up-and-coming creators including artists, architects and video directors.



Since 2011 this project has been moved to a new location the "Diesel Art Gallery" in Shibuya Tokyo that features a cafe, bar, and art gallery. The store has two floors and a basement. Art is displayed alongside women’s and men’s apparel and the brand’s furniture line, in unexpected harmony.


Longchamp, New York



Longchamp’s flagship NYC store is an architectural masterpiece with its trademark steel ribbon staircase, described as the most creative stairs in the US. Designed by Heatherwick Studio, the stairs are made from glass panels, designed to ‘flow and converge’ between walkways and steps like ‘draping silk’.


Constructed in hot-rolled steel and taking six months to build, the landscape stair weighs 55 tonnes and is an installation that divides and converges to form a topography of walkways, landings and steps. The transparent balustrades are fabricated using aerospace windscreen technology to create a series of individually formed panels that drape with the fluidity of fabric.



On the main retail floor, the laminated wood ceiling is sliced open and sections folded downwards, their layers separated further to provide surfaces to display the merchandise.


The three storey store is flooded by natural light from a large glazed core cut through the building. This was designed to draw people up the landscape, rather than a conventional staircase or escalator.


Sisii Office and Showroom, Kobe



Designed by Yuko Nagayama & Associates for Japanese fashion brand Sisii, the office and showroom contrasts industrial wrought iron surfaces against beautiful planted rockeries. Sisii required a single space to showcase its products, hold meetings and allow employees to work simultaneously, so the showroom features operations on various levels to distinguish the business’ functions.


The architects installed a raised platform that forms pathways around rocky gardens in the angular gaps, which were designed to emulate the landscape of the nearby Mount Rokkō. The platform runs from the front to the back of the narrow room and is supported by a galvanised steel structure hidden from view.



A section of the metal sheeting is folded up to conceal a sunken meeting room, which can be glimpsed through a window.


A set of wooden steps lead down to the space behind the screen, where bookshelves are formed under the platform and a table has a matching metal surface.



Towards the back, a glazed partition between the platform and a ceiling beam separates the showroom from an office space. The platform continues past the glass and through a wooden door, forming a table surrounded by sunken seats. The glazing is echoed on the street-facing facade, where the platform sits up against the glass and stones are scattered underneath.


Mirrors line the wall on one side of the room to make the space appear bigger. Another angled mirror at the back of the office hides a storage area, while the rest of the walls, structural elements and ductwork are painted white.


Darkroom, London



Italian architecture firm Superstudio's boutique Darkroom utilises a distinctive geometric design, reminiscent of the De Stijl movement and grid patterns used in 1960’s and 70’s , to inform its latest collection of products and in-store installations.


A neon window display, by set designer Anna Lomax, and a chromatographic series of paintings by artist Marcus James attract visitors to the shop in central London.


The installations were created to complement the store's new Off The Grid range of products and accessories based on work by Superstudio – a radical architecture studio that championed the motifs in the 1960s and 1970s.



Geometric jewellery by London designer Henriette Lofstrom accompanies the larger furniture pieces and fashion accessories.


Darkroom is located at 52 Lamb's Conduit Street, London, WC1N 3LL. The collection was launched during this year's London Design Festival, which took place throughout Britain’s capital last week.

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