There are many shops on the high street which lack some serious imagination (see our ‘What makes a shop boring?´post, a few posts back) but on the other end of the spectrum, there are some truly breathtaking ones too – ones that make you feel like you have entered a side room of the Saatchi Gallery or guest gallery at the Guggenheim. These shops certainly offer that special experiential hit today’s desensitised shoppers are searching for. Here are a few brands teetering on art gallery status.
Galeria Melissa, New York
Melissa, a forward thinking Brazilian shoe retailer inspired by the footwear of French fishermen, has a range of fabulous avante garde shops which fuse design, art and fashion under one roof. Her new New York gallery-standard store features a regularly scheduled calendar of art exhibitions by up-and-coming female artists as well as a living wall of greenery and a pottery demonstration. She has created a place people can hang out, interact and take in the beautiful space. It’s a destination location that is sure to draw more crowds to the SoHo district.
Tom Dixon, Kings Cross, London
Furniture designer Tom Dixon decided to move his shop to King’s Cross after his studio in Ladbroke Grove was sold. It’s the first opening at an old Victoria Coal Yard in the newly rejuvenated shopping street at King’s Cross. The long, industrial brick building provides a contrasting backdrop to all of Tom Dixon’s shiny collections but also includes a restaurant and cafe and a live, manufacturing factory where the team make things, test ideas and create prototypes. Customers can even get involved and make their own products – that’s customer engagement on a whole new level.
Gentle Monster, Seoul
Gentle Monster is a Korean sunglass brand originally aimed at the trend-conscious Korean youth, but now it’s expanding its empire with stores in Beijing, Hong Kong, Shanghai, New York and Los Angeles. The highly conceptual shop displays with their theatrical, off-the-wall constructions, almost seem to dwarf the product they house inside them. But that doesn’t seem to matter – each visit exports you to an incredibly bonkers, fantasy world that makes an unforgettable shopping experience. All the shops have been carefully imagined with a unique installation, each like a mini modern art museum in their own right.