In times of economic grief, the world of retail becomes a battlefield to attract customers and with so many brands on the market, it takes bold strokes to prevail from the rest. Every few months it seems a new flagship has opened, and brands are making their mark on the map with a radical and explosive architectural vision.
Retailers constantly hunt for established architects and designers to apply their academic sensibilities to elevate a brand in order to create an impressive design. For emerging firms and designers, the chance to create a cool concept store for an establish brand is the way to brand your name on the global design stage.
Nothing here is “I’m here”. It is all architectural landmark, and the following 25 creative and inspirational concept stores are just a peak at the invigorating and competitive world of 21st Century retail design.
24 Issey Miyake (Tokyo, Japan)
Count on Japanese designer Nendo to pack the punch with his contemporary, minimal designs. Drawing from the design and aesthetic of Japanese convenience stores, his restrained sensibilities work well to emphasize the power of the product, while at the same time emphasize innovative and creative design solutions.
66 Gallery and Botas (Prague, Czech Republic)
66 Gallery and Botas Store by A1Architects is a seamless fusion of a shoe store for their vintage inspired Botas shoes, and also a contemporary art gallery. The layout references the number 66, and is contrasted using colorr, characterizing the gallery in stark white, and the concept store in black, allowing for optimum presence of the products on display.
Alexandre Herchovitz (Tokyo, Japan)
Brazilian designer Alexandre Herchovitz does not shy from loud prints or bold designs, and Arthur Casas helps make the statement with his design for the Flagship store in Tokyo’s Daikanayama district. Featuring a double-edge razor blade design on the façade, the building is engineered to literally open and close to the public.
Ami-e-Toi (Arnhem, Netherlands)
The playful concepts behind Maurice Mentjens’ design of Ami-e-Toi, reinvents the retail experience into a fashionista’s private funhouse. Embracing a “Nothing is quite as it seems” theme, Mentjens’ creates a surreal landscape of Art Deco inspired luxury, beautifully marrying boldness and simplicity to echo the contrast between the fashion diva and the women who make the fashions.
Ann Demeulemeester (Seoul, Korea)
Located in the Gangham district of Seoul, Korean architect Minsuk Cho creates a stunning organic vision for the Ann Demeulemeester Shop lining the façade with living walls of greenery. Located in a highly dense urban area. The design is a dialogue between natural and artificial, interior and exterior, and lastly amalgamation and confrontation.
Ayres (Buenos Aires, Argentina)
Located in the El Solar de la Abada Mall in Buenos Aires, this retail project from Dieguez Fridman is an exploration in form and its effect on the function of a space. Using a multi-faceted feature that runs throughout the space, the large white form unfolds, carving the space to make openings for clothes, displays, and fitting rooms.
BAPE (Los Angeles, USA)
Japanese street wear brand BAPE makes kills it with their ultra-futuristic Melrose Avenue location in downtown Los Angeles. This corner store makes a huge presence on the strip, with a brightly lit interior, neon tubing, and a dramatic 4.5 meter high glass cylinder in the centre of the space, featuring a rotating sneaker conveyer belt.
Barbie (Shanghai, China)
Slade Architecture tackles the 35,000 square foot Barbie Flagship Store for Mattel with all the drama and character you would expect in this temple dedicated to the world’s most famous diva. Unapologetic feminine and expression of Barbie’s dynamic fashion forward sensibilities, the store’s feature is the spiral staircase enclosed by 800 different Barbie Dolls, encasing the viewer like the doll itself.
Brown Thomas (Dublin, Ireland)
Toronto firm Burdifilek explores luxury on a modern level with their design for the Brown Thomas Flagship Store in Dublin. Bringing a progressive sensibility to the luxury retail experience, Burdifilek combines exclusive custom furnishings, unexpected material choices, bold colour and form to conceptualize high end shopping for the 21st Century.
Camper (London, UK)
Spanish shoe brand Camper enlisted the help of Japanese designer Tokujin Yoshioka for their flagship store in London. Adhering the brand’s red signature, Yoshioka summons upon the beauty of nature, creating a blossoming red wall from distressed suede, with matching Bouquet Chairs, referencing the ever-changing expression of forms in nature.
Creme de la Creme (Vilnius, Lithuania)
One of the 170 shops occupying the award-winning Panorama Shopping Centre in Vilnius, Creme de la Creme’s simplified lightwood interior subdues the user with a true feeling of free flow and weightlessness. Combining the ultra-luxury of Tom Dixon furniture with display cases made from shipping crates, Plazma Architects has created a sophisticated space that summons the spirits of the fields and forests without any cliché.
Derek Lam (New York City, USA)
Stripped back, and refined like Derek Lam’s sensuous designs, SANAA creates an intimate space built upon the designer’s aesthetic sensibilities. Creating transparent organic forms that house each separate collection, the transparent bubbles create dazzling auras as light bounces from one bubble to the next.
Dunhill Men (New York City, USA)
In an installation bringing the ghostly cut out of Dunhill’s London Flagship Store, Campaign defines all the elegance and refinement of the British menswear label in a vacant warehouse in New York’s Meat-Packing District. Using aluminum panels and projection technology, Campaign’s approach allows for a caravan-like showcasing of the brand, bringing Dunhill’s luxurious take on retail to any corner of the globe.
Issey Miyake ‘Pleats Please’ (Tokyo, Japan)
Tokujin Yoshioka’s redesign for Issey Miyake’s ‘Pleats Please’ Boutique in the Aoyama district of Tokyo, is a tour-de-force of contemporary, minimalist, concept-based design. Yoshioka’s conception of the space includes transcending time by conserving the existing space with recycled aluminum, and an expansive light wall to accentuate the product and infuse modern technology into the retail experience.
Kymyka (Maastrich, Netherlands)
Award winning designer Maurice Mentjens is well known for his conceptual and innovative takes on retail design. Mentjens lends his signature quirks to the boutique shoe store, displaying the store’s designer shoes and bags balanced on pins and needles.
Longchamp (New York City, USA)
Creating an undulating landscape seen through a large glazed core cut on the building’s facade, Heatherwick beckons customers from street level up a waterfall of rubber and steel ribbons. The gorgeous incline up to Longchamp’s Soho Flagship Store is a striking work of art, and marks a radical departure from the brand’s traditional image, and has solidified itself as a landmark in creative design solutions.
Lucien Pellat-Finet (Osaka, Japan)
The fine cashmere and knit items of Lucien Pellat-Finet were the jump-point for Kengo Kuma when designing for the high profile Osaka boutique. Attempting to express the tenderness of cashmere, Kuma creates an organic pattern using plywood to mimic the coziness of the fabric.
Lurdes Bergada (Barcelona, Spain)
Taking a thousand pieces of beech wood, Deardesign creates a dramatic igloo-like structure to emphasize the hangar-like size of the Lurdes Bergada Flagship Store in downtown Barcelona. Each piece of wood is unique, visibly numbered, and draws attention to the construction of the wall, ultimately relating back to the minimal and industrial design aesthetic of the brand itself.
Munich (Barcelona, Spain)
Barcelona based shoe brand, Munich, enlists the help of Dear Design to cement their place on the global retail market with the design of their Flagship Store in downtown Barcelona. A joyous devil may-care configuration of mirrors, dark glass, metal trees, and metal cages from which the shoes have escaped make for a truly energetic and fun space.
Neil Barrett (Tokyo, Japan)
Zaha Hadid’s conceptual take on the design of the Neil Barrett Flagship Store is an elegant physical interpretation of Neil Barrett’s own designs. Using cut-outs, folds, pleats, and fixed points as inspiration, Hadid creates an experience that melds architecture with the realm of sculpture and fine art.
Patrick Cox (Tokyo, Japan)
Winner of the JCD Design Award for its achievement in the design of futuristic commercial environments, designer Chikara Ohno’s Patrick Cox Shop is a stand-out in the world of conceptual retail spaces. Focusing on the relationship between light and the product, Ohno shapes the space with a lush canopy of cylindrical steel pendants that hang above the product displays.
Prada (Tokyo, Japan)
Compromised of 840 diamond shaped glass panels on an iron structure, the Prada Store in the Aoyama district of Tokyo is a revelation in retail concepts, and the potential of a retail building. Reaching four floors, the lacquered white interior is accompanied by a unique “Sound Shower” installation from Fashion DJ Frederic Sanchez.
Reebok ‘Flash’ (New York, USA)
Fusing early 20th Century Vorticism with the vibrant spirit of the 1980’s, Formavision plays with both perspective and depth, tricking the eye by extending three dimensional shapes into distorted graphic patterns. Much in the spirit of the brightcamouflaged battleships used by the Royal Navy in the First World War, Reebok’s Flash Concept Store is anything but a flash in the pan in the world of creative retail design.
Ubiq (Philadelphia, USA)
New York firm Architecture at Large goes for the bold, bringing a unique take on gentlemanly luxury to street wear with their remodelling of the Ubiq Boutique in Philadelphia. With a bold black and white colour story, and ultra-lacquered surfaces up and down, the concept is a unique fusion of cold retail showroom and inviting worldly elegance.
United Nude (Amsterdam, Netherlands)
Rem Koolhaas tackles the United Nude Flagship Store with all the gusto and moxie the world has come to expect from the famed Dutch architect. This time, designing for his own brand of shoes, the architect presents The Wall of Light. Apart from spanning walls of LED light to showcase the product, shoppers are literally left in the dark.