Rent or buy a suitable place for retail shop, make it smaller and more compact, add two tablespoons of exclusivity, a cup of attractive and cozy interior, a handful of strong personality, put all this in a beautiful urban area and you will have a concept store. So, what is a concept store? It is a shop that sells a carefully curated selection of products that connect to an overarching theme. The problem with terms like this is that they often get misappropriated, first by retailer and than by customers.
Suddenly every store is either claiming to be, or described as a concept store. Actually these stores mix
good design and exhibition center, and absolutely follow and express the identity of the brand / owner, which almost always is out of the
well-known commercial visions and practices. Behind the worldwide success of the concept stores stands the peculiarity of selling not just unique products, but offering a unique shopping experience – one that will make you come back, again and again. The interior of these attractive urban locations bursts personality from floor to roof, and speaks directly to customers ‘Look at me, I’m unique!’, and giving them the chance to not only buy design items, but enable them to rediscover themselves through another’s design philosophy. Here are some of the most impressive interiors of concept stores in the world.
Aria, London Aria is located in an atmospheric space in Islington’s Barnsbury Hall. Many of the building’s original features have been restored and they now contrast beautifully with the über-modern lines of contemporary furniture and homewares. This London spot offers extremely high-quality designer pieces and the pleasant atmosphere in the in-store café is definitely a pleasure to visit. ariashop.co.uk
Parkhaus, Berlin Parkhaus Berlin started as a felt crafting manufacture which steadily built up its own esthetic identity. Everything here is carefully selected, from wooden cabinets and old lightings to medicine balls or handwoven blankets. www.parkhausberlin.de
Luola, Córdoba Luola (the Finnish word for cave), is a micro design temple in Córdoba, located in the city’s vibrant hub. Spanning just 22 sq m, the store, designed by owners architect Javier Feijoo and graphic designer Nicolás Contreras, makes the most of its compact space with a minimal material palette. The ceiling and one wall is clad in rough-hewn wood pallets, adding a sense of fluidity, which appears in stark contrast to the white-painted interior and exterior walls. In Luola are sold mainly Argentine designers and this is another way to get to know the country.
FvF Flat, Berlin The FvF Flat is a monster cool collaboration between interview magazine Freud von Freunden and Swiss furniture manufacturer Vitra. The flat is reconstructed and furnished in a way, illustrating how “a creative, mobile and digitally-oriented generation lives”. The space often becomes the centre of events, workshops, cooking sessions and amazing Pop- Up stores where you can find a range of design goods.
DESIGN SHOP, ROTTERDAM The owners of this shop are inspired by the work of designers from East Europe, so they decided
to open a shop in Rotterdam where they can sell their work and that of other designers. Bright colours and graphic prints on the wall, lightings in pastel colours and a large collection of products from recycled materials – just a must! www.en-designshop.com