Island of the calmness
The surge in popularity of online shopping in the past decade is signaling the demise of retail stores as we know them: theconvenience, speed, lower price, and diversity of goods as well as choices of vendors are drawing customers into online shopping and away from retail stores. Without significant shifts in retail store design paradigm, retail stores as we know them will be extinct soon. This work explores a more general approach to new meanings for retail spaces.
The only way that retail spaces will survive is if they can append more meanings to “shopping” - meanings that can’t be found online through computer monitors. A few good examples are retail spaces in the East and Southeast Asia, which are not only shopping spaces but also a community, and spaces for art exhibitions and education. Despite its success in Asia, this concept may not be applicable across cultural barriers. This work explores a more general approach to new meanings for retail spaces.
Instead of aiming to sell as much or as fast as possible, we focus our attention to making ambience, dream and imagination in the brand images and retail spaces to make them become more human. I propose to view shopping as a journey. The journey emerges from new perspectives of everyday life which can be seen, but hardly realized together with the connection between individual, other customers in the store, space and product.
My design project is an implementation of the Slow Theory by Alastair Fuad-Luke into the next generation flagship stores for Camper, an everyday shoes brand from Spain, whose philosophy focuses on human well-being. Shoe store serves as a unique situation to experiment with new retail store design approach since purchasing shoes usually requires customers to actually try them physically, as opposed to ordering them online and thus requires the stores to remain competitive in the long run.
Here are the examples of the next generation Camper stores in Tokyo, Utrecht and Barcelona. The main idea is a landscape within landscape that serves two goals. First is to help customers choose the right shoes by walking in the landscapes and materials inspired locally. Second, and most importantly, is to take customers on a journey of new perspectives of their own, familiar hometown. The ultimate purpose of this project is to benefit both the customers and the retail business: for the business to survive and for customers to transcend the mundane expectations of shopping - to obtain goods - to slow down, reflect, and reveal that facets of life that are otherwise overlooked, which is a fulfilling experience.