This funky pharmacy with its unconventional exterior and startling interior volume is not something you’d expect to stroll into in a small, ancient town in north-central Portugal.
Yet the 50,000 or so inhabitants of Vila Real (=Royal Town) who can trace their town’s history back to the paleolithic era, were quite used to an imposing pharmacy building on this site.
But when the private owner of Farmácia Lordelo - which had already operated nearly quarter-century on this site - decided to rebuild, she did not go for timid.
Instead, the architecture and interior design by JOSÉ CARLOS CRUZ – ARQUITECTO went all the way to a super-modern, taking advantage of the fact that the area does not have strict building style restrictions. The building certainly stands out in this residential neighborhood located slightly off the city centre.
Many of us are used to the type of “drug store” where the actual pharmacy part is squeezed into a back corner somewhere and given as little space as possible – as it is not the part generating the profit - while the rest of the store space is taken up by everything from diapers and toilet paper to books and food, and with the tacky packaging and POS material that goes with that. A pharmacy this clean and beautiful is a rarity, indeed.
Farmácia Lordelo is not only a compounding pharmacy but also a laboratory, which is one of the reasons the designers toned everything down and kept the interior airy, white and logo-less. How wonderfully refreshing! And yes, it does look a bit sterile and clinical as well, but that was the intention.
The oval-shaped space is 522 square meters in size (5618 sq.ft.) and the various functions are divided into two levels with the retail floor on ground level..
We also love the cool aluminum coated and perforated exterior where the only opening is the main entrance to the retail floor. The enormous cross logo and the external lighting changes creating an animated and lively contrast to the monochrome interior. - Tuija Seipell
Images by Fernando Guerra, FG+SG Fotografia de Architectura
Yes, yes! We LOVE the cool, clean, minimalist interior (no news here to our readers) of the brand-new 100 square-meter retail store, the HITGallery, opened at the end of September in the Times Square shopping center in Hong Kong.
The elegantly retro store, designed by the talented Milan-based architect and designer, Fabio Novembre, is the first iteration of a new global multi-brand retail concept of the Pettoranello-based fashion house, Ittierre S.p.A. Ittierre holds the licenses, manufacturers and markets several brands, including Aquascutum, C’n’C Costume National, Galliano, GF Ferré, Fiorucci, Karl Lagerfeld Paris, Pierre Balmain and Tommy Hilfiger Collection. The latest brand to sign with Ittierre is Jean Paul Gaultier, with his men’s collection launching in Fall/Winter 2013-14.
The HITGallery boutiques, slated to open around the globe, feature\s several, if not all, of the lines Ittiere represents. The next store in line will be the Milan flagship but in the meanwhile, Ittierre has just opened a 1,000-square-meter temporary store, IT'S 30 MANZONI, at Palazzo Scotti Gallarati in Milan's luxury neighborhood.
In a media release, Fabio Novembre is quoted as saying that The HITGallery stores capture the essence and spirit of Italy by, for example, taking inspiration from the surreal atmospheres of the artist Giorgio De Chirico.
He continues: “Upon entering the concept store in Hong Kong, people will promptly notice the strong Italian imprint of the architectural design’s classical matrix: symmetrical structure, row of arches, one dominant hue offset by two-tone flooring. The color defining the walls – a neutral shade bordering between green and sky or cerulean blue – defies classification, so becoming the ideal backdrop for all the brands sold in the store.”
We love the uncluttered feel, the delicious Casamania Her chair (also by Novembre) and the complete lack of brand-clutter, especially signs and logos. The latter, of course, will pose the most massive of all retail challenges that trumps all design and merchandising feats: The need to provide relevant and sincerely customer-centric service. Don’t even get us started on THAT topic! - Tuija Seipell
Photography by Dennis Lo
The ultimate lifestyle shopping experience has arrived to Australia’s most iconic beach: The Cool House by The Cool Hunter. After the huge success of The Cool House in Melbourne last week (4,500 people attended over four days), Sydney's Bondi Beach welcomes the ultimate pop-up boutique.
For 10 days only, The Cool Hunter lifestyle is available in the real world - detailed throughout The Lighthouse, Pacific Bondi Beach's f finest penthouse.
As you'd expect from The Cool Hunter, it is all wall-to-wall style, progressive design and understated luxury – and it is all available for purchase; every single items is for sale, as is The Lighthouse itself
Styled by Steve Cordony from Belle Magazine.
There are three kitchen displays with the latest designer kitchen accessories to purchase.
Everything is available to buy, including The Lighthouse.
Flowers by Poho Florist in Potts Point.
Balcony Design by Garden Life
Balcony Design by Garden Life
Large mobile artwork chandelier by Sydney-based paper artist Benja Harvey
The Cool House Sydney
Friday 7 Dec - Sunday 16 Dec
10:00am to 6:00pm
Pacific Bondi Beach
6th Floor of the Swiss Grand Hotel
180 Campbell Parade
Anyone who has ever designed food and beverage packaging knows how difficult it is to stand out in the crowded sameness of food stores. This difficulty is magnified in the wine category. You must, in essence, express the wine’s distinctive qualities in the tiny space of the label, the cap, and perhaps some carton or POS applications.
To make matters worse, various laws and regulations require that much of the label space is taken up by small print. There is also very little cost-effective wiggle room in the basic package: the bottle.
Bottles are universally more or less the same, and the sameness is dictated by standardized manufacturing, transportation, storage and displays. Wine quality plays a major role in this as well, as does consumer perception. Wine that comes out of a box or a plastic container just doesn’t feel quite right.
In the retail selling environment, education and information now also demand their share of space as more and more novices want to know about wine.
For the wine retailer, and for the designer of spaces where wine is sold, all of this poses a challenge: How to display hundreds of seemingly similar bottles in an attractive, interesting and functionally effective way. How to make shopping enjoyable and easy, and how to help consumers learn more about wine.
Dutch online wine seller Grapy hired the Amsterdam-based Storeage to design its first physical selling space. Located in the Het Verbogen Rijk bookstore in Roosendaal, the shop-in-shop helps integrate the bookstore’s wine and cook books with the wine.
We love the massive graphics and the simple, clear “signage” that gives only minimal direction: creamy whites, fresh whites, bubbles. This simplicity – rather than the common and confusing information overload – is what makes shopping easy. Storeage used minimalist, mobile and modular displays to facilitate the move of this shop into other locations.
It will come as no surprise to our readers that we love wood, minimalism and Scandinavian design. Mistral Wine & Champagne Bar in São Paulo, Brazil, is the Mistral wine company’s first physical space.
Designed by local architect Arthur Casas it is a perfect example of how to make a boring, long space look magnificent. We like the bottle display system that shows each bottle label-up, and eliminates the need to handle the bottles. The long “selection hall” leads to a bar area, designed for learning about wine by reading and tasting.
Peter Poulakos, son of Sparta, Greece-born restaurateur Harry Poulakos, operates not just 22 restaurants, including the well-known Harry’s in New York City, but also the focus of our interest here: Vintry Fine Wines
According to Rogers Marvel Architects, the designers of the Battery Park neighbourhood store, the design is based on the parallel rows and rolling hills of wine country. In addition to the beauty of the clean lines, we love the clarity of the space, and the fact that the educational aspect is handled though simple tablets mounted in the central table.
With more than 2,500 bottles on display, the ease of finding what you need is absolutely essential.
In our review of wine stores, we have seen a fairly clear division into two categories: The earthy and traditional winery-related, rustic concepts, and the minimalist, pared down, urban schemes.
The latter was taken to the extreme in this small wine shop in central Stuttgart, Germany, where the designers at Furch Gestaltung + Produktion had to take drastic measures to fit 1,200 types of wine in about 12,000 bottles into a selling space that was not really fit for the task at all.
The store, located at Dorotheenstraße 2 (at Schillerplatz) and operated by Weinhandlung Kreis, is only 70 square meters (about 753 sq.ft) in size on two floors, and has no storage.
Here, the uniformity of wine packaging became the solution. The standards of wine bottling (more or less all bottles are the same size), storage and transportation became the literal and conceptual framework for the entire store.
The designers created a utilitarian, spreadsheet -like metal grid from wire mats that were welded together to form cubes, each with space for 25 bottles.
The real genius of the concept, however, is in the color. The tall stacks of industrial-looking racks could have appeared unappealing and daunting to the consumer – and yes, this is still probably a bit of a challenge to shop for the first time around – but the color adds a significant uptick to the mood.
The store looks cool and playful, and the shelf colors can become a way finding color code for shoppers to find their favourite wines the next time around. - Tuija Seipell
* See also the rise of the designer bakery
In the past few years, forerunners in the niche hospitality business have been tripping over each other in their attempts to create the next “un-hotel.” Their goal has been to take the mind-numbing sameness of resorts and big hotels, and the litany of empty and unbroken service promises, out of hotel stays by creating unusual overnight accommodation and unexpected twists.
Many are geared toward the in-the-know frequent traveller who appreciates design, art and pop culture. Themed rooms, completely personalized hotel stays, unexpected common areas, unusual pairings of boutiques, restaurants, art and rooms have all resulted from this un-hotel wave.
Two weeks ago, people who love all things Droog gained their own example of this. They now have yet another reason to fly to Amsterdam as they now can stay the night – if they are extremely lucky - at Hôtel Droog’s singular guest room.
Hôtel Droog is the Droog brand’s first foray into the hospitality business, if that’s what this emporium of fashionably cool shops should be called. It is perhaps more like a funky little department store and less like a hotel.
Drawn in by the mid-century modernist Scandinavian undertow, guests of Hôtel Droog are in for much more than overnight accommodation. The hotel part of Hôtel Droog is more of a clever afterthought than the main attraction as it consists of only one suite, located on the topmost floor of the 17th century building, the former home of the city’s textile guild.
In addition to the guest suite, the 700 square meter (753 sq.ft) space that is Hôtel Droog includes, in an all-white casings, a Droog store offering the staples by the Droog designers, a fashion store K A B I N E T created by Amsterdam-based Ferry van der Nat, a Cosmania cosmetics boutique and also a product display area for Weltevree.
Resting from their spending spree, guests without the privilege of a suite upstairs can rest in the dining room or in the fantastic garden created by Claude Pasquer and Corrine Detroyat, the darlings of the Chaumont Garden Festival. We bet the Hôtel Droog concept has staying power and we envision additional suites, possibly in the nearby buildings. - Tuija Seipell
Elegance, minimalism, form-and-function – you know our favorites already. So it comes as no surprise that we like Muriel Grateau’s newly minimalized boutique/gallery at 37 Rue de Beaune in Paris.
Grateau, the queen of the minimalist table setting and sculptural Art Deco jewelry, has had a shop in Paris since 1992 (at this address since 1997) and this fall’s boutique refurbishment was undertaken in celebration of her two decades here.
Displaying her 100 shades of table linen and her subtle, unobtrusive tableware in an all-white setting is not terribly original or imaginative, but it does seem to be perfect for the purpose.
Taking a page from the tested-and-true Japanese book of the art of the minimalist display, Grateau deletes absolutely everything that is not the focal point, i.e. the items on display.
Her goal was to evoke a feeling of floating, to imply that the pieces are unattached and unrestrained by mere surfaces or walls.
Materials such as white mineral resin, stones covered with white powdered paint, white lacquered steel plate and LED lighting were used to create the ethereal 140 square-meter space.
Attending the September 19th re-launch party were design luminaires including Tristan Auer, Lorenz Baümer, Jean Louis Deniot, Hervé Van der Straeten, Chahan Minassian, Juan Montoya, Hervé Van der Straeten, Charles Zana and Pierre Yovanovitch. - Tuija Seipell. (Pics - Oleg Covian)
The recently opened Masters Craft ceramic ware boutique in the basement shopping area of Palace Hotel Tokyo is pure proof of what we already know: nobody masters the art of minimalism as well as the Japanese.
Everything in this store, including how each individual item is displayed on the shelves and counters, manifests the skill of leaving all else out except what is needed for balance; of not being afraid of empty space, and of allowing every piece to tell its complete visual and tactile story.
The 45 square-meter (484 sq.ft.) store was designed by Akemi Katsuno & Takashi Yagi, founders of Kyoto-based Love the Life.
For inspiration, they visited the Masters Craft headquarters in Mizunami city, located in the Tono region of Gifu in central Japan, where ceramics production dates back 1300 years. The trees, mountains and silence of the neighboring area inspired the 14 tree-trunk- poles suspended from the ceiling. The visually prominent materials of the shop interior -- Castor Aralia tree and ceramic tiles – also speak the language of the region.
Palace Hotel Tokyo is located in the business centre of the city, and it faces the Imperial Palace and a lush park. It replaces the Hotel Teito and Palace Hotel that occupied the same site from 1947 and 1961, respectively. The 290-room Palace Hotel Tokyo opened in May this year and includes the second Evian Spa outside France. - Tuija Seipell
Mats Sjöqvist together with brothers Mårten and Olle Eriksson-Mårtens attracted a solid following of well-dressed men to their first menswear boutique, Herrekipering (haberdasher in Swedish), on Kocksgatan 17 in Stockholm’s Södermalm district.
Earlier this year, they expanded the business by opening their second and much bigger store, Haberdash, on Upplandsgatan 50, in the Vasastan area of Stockholm. In the process, they renamed the first shop Haberdash as well.
We love the functional, minimalist interior of the new boutique, completed by Stockholm’s Form Us With Love (FUWL).
The materials and details of the store design speak the same language as the brands represented in the store, the language of timeless style, long-term value, functionality, quality and artisanship.
The underlying goal of all of the displays is to allow the customer to see and examine each item completely. So FUWL created a stylized, minimalist craftsman’s studio, with the items displayed on magnified pegboards, simple workbench-like counters and basic square shelving.
Materials, such as Silestone Quartz, Kährs ash and Tärnsjö Tannery leather are used for displays and surfaces. The “bare-bulb” pendant lighting is FUWL’s own Form for Design House Stockholm.
The esteemed brands sold at Haberdash include the French Armor Lux sailor sweaters made famous by Pablo Picasso, Brooks bicycle saddles and accessories from the UK, and Grundén raingear from Sweden.
FUWL is a multi-discipline design house established in 2005 by fellow students of product design at Småland’s Kalmar University, John Löfgren, Jonas Pettersson and Petrus Palmén. - Tuija Seipell
We don’t often come across projects to feature in Valencia, although the ancient city is the third-largest in Spain. So, we were particularly excited to discover the new cool kids wear boutique, Piccino, that opened at Trafalgar 52 this month.
Piccino (Italian for “kids”) is the first retail shop of the family-owned company that offers reasonably priced Italian children’s fashions including Brums and Bimbus.
Valencia’s Masquespacio, also known as +Quespacio, lead by Ana Milena Hernández Palacios, was in charge of both interior design and graphics for this beautiful 38 square-meter (409 square feet) gift-box-of-a-store.
This store reminds us a bit of the Candy Room in Melbourne by the Red Design Group.
But in Piccino, we especially love the bold and disciplined use of just two basic minimalist principles: white surfaces and black line drawings. This framework creates a sense of being inside a drawing, and it blurs the border between real and imagined, giving a fun 3D effect to all flat surfaces.
We are forced to really look, to see, to check out what’s what. Yet, the simplicity of the framework also lets the clothing play the main role. It pops, but in a fun, inclusive way.
The back-story and inspiration come from the owners’ kids and involve children sewing clothes for their new friends.
With the added drawings of furnishings, kids and clothes, and fun call-outs and other on-brand touches, the space is kid- and parent-friendly yet also cool enough to appeal to pre-teens.
The classic Lou Lou Ghost chair by Philippe Starck for Kartell seems to be designed for this environment. - Tuija Seipell
Complicated is easy, minimalist is difficult. Even more difficult is minimalist design that stands out. That is why we love this little contact lens shop in Tel Aviv, Israel. It is a store concept for Adashot by EyeCare designed by Lee-Ran Shlomi Gidron of Tel Aviv-based Miss Lee Design.
It is apparently the first and only store in Israel that sells nothing but contact lenses. And that posed the main challenge of this project: How to display something as tiny and indistinguishable as contact lenses?
To start, Miss Lee created a word cloud to describe contact lenses: Cleanliness, Transparency, Clarity, Reflection, Gliding, Lightness and Tension between black &white. From that, the two main design elements emerged: The embossed-digits-wall inspired by sight tests, and the six light fixtures with concave mirrors. Minimalist, beautiful and stunning. - Tuija Seipell