Reinventing retail and the importance of experiential spaces have gained popularity over the past few years to keep physical stores relevant and create experiences that people desire to visit beyond the online shopping world. Especially as the challenges of 2020 continue to change the retail landscape, we’re looking towards designers like David Adjaye who give us hope for the reinvention of spaces to shop, learn, and visit with awe, once this is all over.
David Adjaye’s breadth of architecture and design knows no limits, from civic buildings to powerful exhibitions, domestic spaces, and studios for artists, to his mastery of shaping retail stores into a manifestation of physical branding. But it doesn’t stop there, his heavy involvement with research and creative discourse goes beyond the confines of traditional architecture, even testing material and form first by designing furniture.
Luckily for us, that same prowess exemplified in the furniture world includes a partnership with Knoll. Starting in 2010, he worked with Knoll over a three year process to design the Washington Collection, which includes the Washington Skeleton™ Chair, Washington Skin™ Chair, and the Washington Corona™ Coffee Table. The primary idea behind the chairs was to mimic the exact shape of someone sitting, and the material used on each chair is a play on the namesake, to mirror the internal and external parts of the body. The table furthers this inside/outside theme challenging traditional forms by using raw sandcast on the outside and a mirror-polished interior.
This week to honor retail starting to feel safer and normal, we want to explore some of our favorite retail spaces Adjaye has built.
Let’s dive in
Adjaye’s most recent completed work was The Webster, an incredible salmon-colored boutique bursting out of the Beverly Center in Los Angeles. In the entry-way, there is even a panoramic window composed of three sheets of curved glass, creating a unique angular viewpoint that reimagines window-shopping. The Webster is the flagship (and seventh store) of the brand founded by Laure Hériard Dubreuil.
The Serbian fashion designer Roksanda Ilincic desired her space in the Mayfair district of London to reflect the geometry in her clothing, and Adjaye made that a reality. The walls are comprised of staggered and irregularly-layered concrete, creating an almost 3D pattern to the eye. The neutral palette is peppered with colored or mirror-finishes on the shelves and rails that help create flow throughout the customer journey.
Complete with an antechamber as visitors enter that separates the interior from the historic cast-iron NYC building, the self-proclaimed tough-luxe branding of Proenza Schouler is on full display. The multi-planed space focuses on balance: aggregate-poured concrete meets bright natural light, blackened steel converges with refurbished timber flooring.
For this project commissioned by Valextra, there was a concentration on glass-reinforced concrete for the form and texture of the partitions. The challenge was to make this space stand out while being inside Harrods and succeeded by using this crinkled concrete (which, if you can believe, is less than an inch thick) to treat their luxury leather goods like prized heirlooms.
Alara is the first creative hub and destination in Victoria Island, Lagos focused on emerging West African talent in an immersive retail and lifestyle environment. In terms of its design, cast concrete was utilized to establish an industrial feel, with black concrete on the inside and red-pigmented concrete on the outside. The interior of the structure contains a system of platforms, landings, and staircases that allow for the display of everything from fashion to furniture. The very top of the building contains an art gallery and terrace!