Some of us go weak in the knees at the sight of a new bookstore or library. Such was certainly the case when we glanced at Cărtureşti Carusel bookstore, opened on February 12 on Lipscani Street in Bucharest’s historical Old Town, also often called just Lipscani.
The magnificent Chrissoveloni bank building, now owned by Jen Chrissoveloni, the great-grandson of the 19th century banker, created a magnificent starting point for the retail project. According to the Romanian media, the current owner invested 1 million Euro in the renovation and leased the building to the Cărtureşti bookstore chain for 10 years. The Cărtureşti brand added an additional 400 000 Euro in design, fittings and inventory, resulting in one of the largest and most spectacular retail projects in the area.
Our eyes tear up with the sight of a thousand square meters (10 764 sq.ft.) dedicated to 10,000 books, music and a bistro. Add to this the magical staircases, the incredible height of the space, the classy use of white and
wood, and we are delighted. The space lends itself well to events and gatherings as the heavily attended opening event proved.
The brand invited several designers to contribute ideas and eventually selected the “carousel” concept submitted by the Romanian Architecture studio Square One that has designed several others. - Tuija Seipell.
See also The New Stuttgart City Library in Germany
Light and the absence of distractions drew us to this great little project. Absolute is an elegant 42 square-metre (42 asg.t.) florist shop on a nicely treed stretch of a boutique-lined street in Shanghai, China.
Architects Kong Rui and Fan Beilei, who founded Genarchitects in 2012, have created a peaceful, airy space by combining a small rectangular room with an adjoining front courtyard.
The design team, that included Chen Xiaoyi, Xue Zhe and You Wei as well, removed the dividing wall and covered the courtyard with a glass roof whichadds not just more room but more light to the otherwise non-descript space.
By the repeating a delicate arch motif in the white, light-weight furnishings, the designers have achieved an ethereal and somehow gamine feel as if the counters and fixtures were standing Bambi-like, erect and alert
with minimal footprints.
We love the fact that the entire floor is visible – yet another smart way to make the area seem much larger than it is.
With light reflecting from glass surfaces and creating patterns through the glass ceiling, the colorful flowers remain the main attraction as they should. - Tuija Seipell.
Just before the Holiday shopping season last year, Greek Jewelry designer Ileana Makri opened an intriguing retail store on Patriarhou Ioakim Street in Athens’s posh fashion district of Kolonaki.
She hired Greek architect Stelios Kois to envision an environment for not just her own jewelry but also for fashionable creations of other designers. The Makri is not new to retail, as her first entry, Mageia, also in Athens, opened in 1987. Mageia was also the setting for the launch of her precious jewelry line in 1996. Steeped in symbols, nature, mystique and multicultural lore, her pieces featured snakes, evil eyes, insects and other nature-inspired themes created in gold, diamonds, rubies, sapphires and other precious materials. Barneys New York noticed, and from there on, Makri has been part of the jewelry scene, and not just in the up-market fine jewelry segment but also in costume jewelry .
Celebrities and stars, from Jennifer Lopez and Faith Hill to Uma Thurman, Heidi Klum and Rita Wilson, have walked the red carpets of the world wearing Makri’s pieces.
As one would expect, Kois and project manager Antriana Voutsina with team members Nikos Patsiaouras, Marielina Stavrou, Konstantinos Karanasos and Alexandros Economou, used Makri’s work and philosophy as inspiration for the new Athens store.
The quality of light, geometric patterns, exquisite workmanship and intricate detailing are all essential in Ileana Makri’s work in which she transforms “memories to jewelry”, as Kois expressed it in a brief.
In the “peculiar forest” that Kois’s team created, our eyes are drawn to the strong, angular lines of the glass-and-metal trees on which jewelry and other items are displayed. The trees allow 360-degree viewing of the items inside the branch-boxes. We like the scarcity and strength of materials: metal, glass, wood and stone that gives the items on display a minimalist backdrop.
However, our favourite aspect of the store is the exterior. The window opening that appears like a big picture frame, was divided into three segments: Two windows framed with black stone protrude from the façade and, in between them, a narrow door made of black-stained oak leads into the store.
The narrower of the windows is for exhibiting the latest collections. It also frames a display tree and shows off our other favorite feature: the narrow, stone-clad staircase that leads to the jeweller’s workshop. - Tuija Seipell.
Hunter Boots is making waves again. The Edinburgh, Scotland-based historic icon has opened its first-ever flagship store at 83 Regent Street in London with a celebration featuring a troupe of Singing-In-The-Rain dancers arriving in a red double-decker wearing head-to-toe Hunter Original collection.
The store design is a funky combo of urban shopping heaven and agricultural themes that echo farm life and barns – all thought up by the design team at Checkland Kindleysides.
Established in 1856 and known for its dutiful supply of millions of trench boots for the British troops in both World Wars, Hunter has been making a steady move from boots only to a full-fledged clothing brand.
When Hunter hired Alasdhair Willis (aka Mr. Stella McCartney & co-founder of Wallpaper with Tyler Brûlé ) as their design director two years ago, everybody paid attention and started expecting big things. And they have not been disappointed.
The expanded repertoire and the new flagship are just the beginning, however. Willis is going to launch yet another new line in 2015. Hunter Field will be a more technical outdoor collection, for “the guy and girl who wants to look amazing in the wilds of the great outdoors,” as Willis has been quoted describing it.
The flagship, with its barnyard ambiance enhanced with a two-storey high LED screen showing fashion shows and campaigns, will not be the only retail expansion either. According to Checkland Kindleysides, it will form the foundation of future retail and shop-in-shop opportunities. - Tuija Seipell.
Toronto’s funky, ever-evolving King West Village has just gained another interesting entrepreneurial tenant at the brand-new, 12-storey condo and townhouse project, Fashion House, at 556 King Street West.
The newcomer is Her Majesty’s Pleasure, a flexible concept by husband and wife, Jeff Armstrong and Sara Kardan. The sunny space functions as a hair, nail and beauty salon, a coffee and tea bar (during the day), a cocktail bar (at night), a shop, and even an event space, all tied together by a tightly controlled palette of colors (mainly black, white and wood) and materials.
The designer of Her Majesty’s Pleasure, John Tong of +Tongtong has created, among other notable spaces, also the re-incarnation of the interior of Toronto’s famed Queen Street West hotel, The Drake, dating back to 1890. - Tuija Seipell.
Like its namesake, the Paris-Nice express train of the 1950s, Le Mistral gift shop in Tokyo is precise and orderly.
With its navy blue base color and strict visual rules reminiscent of a dapper railway uniform, the interior is an effective vessel to display the tightly (strictly) edited selection of gift items from around the world.
Designed by Jumpei Matsushima of JP architects, the 61 square-meter (656 sq.ft.) shop is also thoroughly Japanese in its sparse coloring and its neat and exact (precise) division of space in ever-repeating rectangles.
By giving clear rules (in both meanings of the word), the plan allows daily changes to the displays without disturbing the balance and orderliness of the overall look.
Everything in the store, from furniture and fixtures to the actual merchandise, lines up with the grid that originates from the building’s structural frame. - Tuija Seipell
Belgian twin brothers, Kristof and Stefan Boxy have dipped their culinary hands in several Michelin-star restaurants and catering businesses, and they’ve authored a cook book as well: Just Cooking.
We loved their food store/catering space, Boxy Fine Foods, in Ghent, but unfortunately it closed earlier this year. While we do not know the reason why it closed, we bet it wasn’t because of the interior design.
With the help of Frederich Hooft of Ghent, the Boxy brothers created an elegant, white, open space to display and sell gourmet foods.
The elaborate moldings on the ceilings, the sparkling chandeliers, the gilded mirrors and the wide floor boards speak of tradition, history and heritage, but not in a stuffy way. It feels fresh, new and modern with a few clever twists in the display set-ups.
From one angle at a doorway, a triple take on hanging items welcome the visitors: hams, chandeliers and hanging baskets with their mossy root balls.
The setting reminds us of a museum or an art gallery, which is partly the reason the whole enterprise appears opulent and luxurious and sets one up to expect high prices and superior quality. - Tuija Seipell.
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Those of us who are tired of throwawayism and of pointlessly amassing closetfuls of disposable footwear, are starting to pay serious attention to the kind of shoe quality that only true expertise and attention to detail can produce.
Voting with our wallets, we’d rather shop once a year and obtain something that is beautiful, durable and worth the high price, than keep throwing our money – and shoes – away season after season. Traditional men’s shoe makers Joseph Cheaney and others like them are thriving today because they give us what we want.
If you have been making fine men’s’ shoes since 1886 in Northamptonshire, the region known for high-quality English shoemaking, you have the history, traditions and expertise to claim top-price for your product today.
Capitalizing on the demand of high-quality, customized, hand-made men’s footwear Joseph Cheaney has turned its fortunes around in the past five years, since cousins Jonathan and William Church, fifth-generation shoemakers themselves, bought the brand.
The brand is thriving not just in London, where five stores have opened in five years, but also in China, Japan, continental Europe and Russia.
Although it is hip and contemporary, Joseph Cheaeny’s impressive new flagship fits perfectly on London’s Jermyn Street that dates back to 1664 and is known for British artistry and craftsmanship, especially for the finest men’s tailors, shirt makers and suppliers of leather goods.
The designers at Checkland & Kindleysides used history, tradition and craftsmanship as their guides for the store design, creating an environment that inspires exploration and helps patrons appreciate the skill and care that goes into making every pair by hand.
The front of the store highlights the factory and the process of making each pair. Many features of this area echo the factory in Northampton, including metal-framed screens, paneled ceiling and painted brick. In the center sit a 1:100 scale model of the Cheaney factory and a display of how genuine Cheaney shoes are made.
The second area of the store feels like a traditional boardroom with leather seating and the portraits of the founders looking down sternly from the walls.
Our favourite features are the white peg-board walls, the rows of wooden shoe lasts and the exquisite inky-blue colour on some of the walls.
Checkland & Kindleysides is a 30-year-old, London-based design studio with a retail client list that includes Wrangler, Dr.Martens, Levi’s, Timberland and Converse. - Tuija Seipell
Dutch design pair Rolf Snoeren and Viktor Horsting celebrate the 20th anniversary of their Viktor & Rolf brand by opening a massive Paris flagship store in the 1st arrondissement, at 370 Rue Saint-Honoré.
One expects nothing but spectacular from the brand that has been owned by Renzo Rosso’s group since 2008, with apparently deep pockets to support the label’s growth and expansion.
But we did not expect felt-padded walls or the omnipresent grey color – a hue that now seems to be the new black of retail environments and is in fact getting a bit boring already.
The charcoal surroundings do show off the more colorful pieces, but there’s something quite depressing and aggressive about all that greyness.
The 7,000 square-foot (650 square-meter) multi-level emporium was designed by the Paris-based Pierre Beucler and Jean-Christophe Poggioli of Architecture & Associés.
The store houses much of the Viktor and Rolf collection including ladies’ wear, handbags, shoes, eyewear, and a selection of menswear and limited-edition pieces. - Tuija Seipell.
Here now and gone tomorrow. Summer is always too short which is why we love it so intensely and why we want to live it to the fullest.
To celebrate the kick-off of summer in Sydney, Rotate Store by The Cool Hunter in-sydney is dedicating its first-ever theme to the love of summer.
Rotate by TCH – Summer Lovers - is located at 1 Martin Place in the city’s urban hub where culture and commerce, cafés and high-end fashion meet, mix and mingle. (opposite the Xmas tree)
TCH has curated a cool summery product selection that reflects a sunny, playful vibe. There are beach towels and swimwear from the local brand “We are Handsome” as well as many international brands, including Danward thongs from Italy, beach bats and swimwear from Brazil and Bangkok.
As the summer themed selection will be available until mid February only, the goods will be gone fast. Here now and gone tomorrow. Just like summer itself.
The great execution of The Cool Hunter’s first Rotate store is by the talented Natalie Longheon and Peter Pengly of event company The Artistry. This young firm over delivered in record time by designing, producing, executing and styling in less than 2 weeks. We can't wait to get them involved in our next rotate store.
TCH Summer Lovers Store is open Monday to Friday 10am to 6pm, Thursday 10am to 8pm, and Saturday 11am to 4pm. Closed on Sundays
A huge thanks goes to our marketing agency from Melbourne FLAUNT MARKETING who always get involved with much enthusiasm. Brands wanting to get involved in our next few Rotate projects contact Sharyn Lowe. [email protected] We'll be popping up in Melbourne next year as well.
When you visit Summer Lovers store, you could win a free 3 night stay for 2 to Qualia Resort on Hamilton Island (voted best hotel in the world). Simply take a picture at the store, share it on Instragram using the hashtags - #tchsummerlovers and #qualia and you’ll be in the running.
Images by Felix Forest