Retail therapy: projects that transformed retail design into an immersive experience
by Sunena V MajuDec 15, 2022
•make your fridays matter with a well-read weekend
by Sunena V MajuPublished on : Dec 06, 2022
Abiding by the age-old connection that architecture has with the fashion world, architects have had a significant presence in the set design of shows and events. While fashion houses transform shows into performative art displaying immaculate and experimental trends, architecture absorbs this drama and shapes it into a scenography. Whether it be Louis Vuitton’s Spring/Summer 2023 Menswear show, which transformed the courtyards of Louvre Cour Carree into a yellow car track playground as a final tribute to the legendary Virgil Abloh or Chilean architect Smiljan Radić’s 'a show in the sky' for Alexander McQueen’s Spring/Summer 2022 Womenswear in East London. At the forefront of this coalescence between both industries is AMO—OMA’s research and design wing. The latest presentation from the office of AMO comes in the form of their collaboration with French fashion designer Simon Porte Jacquemus' fashion brand Jacquemus.
Designed by Ellen van Loon and Giulio Margheri, the three retail outposts at Galeries Lafayette in Paris, Selfridges and Harvey Nichols in London, mark the collaboration between AMO and the French fashion label. The studio experimented with the retail design's material palette to imbibe it with the picturesque essence of the South of France. Testing the limits of working with a single material throughout the design, AMO employs pillows that are reminiscent of the textiles of Provence for the Paris store and terracruda—a clay-based, ceramic material inspired by the landscape of Provence, in the South of France—for the Selfridges store. "The inspiration for the design of the Jacquemus stores owes to the brand’s origins in the South of France. We wanted to capture the atmosphere of Provence through the materiality of the spaces, which led us to approach the design in a different way altogether. Instead of working with form and deciding on the materials afterwards, we chose the materials at the outset and let them guide the shape of each space," shares van Loon about the project.
Creating continuity throughout the space, the 82 sqm ground-level boutique at Selfridges adorns in the materiality of terracruda. Terracruda is a ceramic material inspired by the landscape of Provence. Directly visible from the street, the store is covered in a singular material from its floor and shelving, totems, and plinths to tables and chairs. The irregularity in the material texture, due to the hand-applied terracruda, provides the design with a natural and earthy sense through craftsmanship. The seating and display area have been crafted in curves, providing an abstract sense of natural elements to the space. Inviting passersby from the streets through its earthy palette, the shop-in-shop exceeds the conventionality of a retail store to become a place that feels like home and the earth.
The store at Galeries Lafayette Haussmann in Paris features walls and display elements covered entirely in pillows. In the 60 sqm, womenswear boutique upholstered in white cushions, the interior design aims at imparting the ease and comfort of a day spent in bed, to its visitors. A stack of pillows doubles as a seating area and display surface, welcoming visitors to browse and lounge for as long as they want. Contrasting the curvaceous nature of the Selfridges store, in the Paris store, the seating and display areas are created in the geometricity of straight lines.
Though not directly, the aesthetics of both the stores seem to be reminiscent of the Jacquemus Fall 2022 'Le Papier' runway show. Held at the salt marshes of Aigues-Mortes in the South of France, models walked the natural ramp of salts in white-toned designs. For fashion enthusiasts obsessed with Jacquemus, the monochrome of white in the Galeries Lafayette store and the natural textures of the Selfridges store is sure to transpose them to that ethereal show. In the process of designing the three stores for Jacquemus—the third store to open at Harvey Nichols in London during Fall 2022—AMO went through a tedious research process to understand the different materials and how they were associated with the brand's identity.
With Jacquemus recently launching these stores in London and Paris, AMO's official release states, “The store design continues van Loon and Margheri’s recent work in retail and scenography for Tiffany & Co, Off-White, Solid Nature, KaDeWe, and BVLGARI. The design studio has, for long, been associated with Prada as well, and has designed the sets and runways for the Italian high-end luxury fashion house's Spring/Summer 2023 Menswear, and Fall/Winter Menswear 2022, to name a few and as well as the brand’s flagship stores in New York and Los Angeles.” The relationship between architecture and fashion is a story longer than we realise. At the advent of a new era where both the industry merge more into each other, what’s NEXT for the collaboration between these two worlds of design?
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