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Cannabis to Grand Pianos: 14 Radical Modern Retail Designs
By Steph,
Web Urbanist, 25 January 2016.

Whether selling recreational marijuana or grand pianos that cost almost as much as a house, this eclectic mix of retail stores really sets off their products with eye-popping interior design schemes featuring unusual architectural elements. Some of the shops might even be at risk of outshining what they sell with modern sculptural displays, dramatic hanging staircases and faux truck facades.

1. Stunning Steinway Piano Showroom


The stainless wires on the facade of the flagship Asian Steinway & Sons showroom mimics those inside the luxury pianos on display, only slightly obscuring them and the people who test them out within the beautifully illuminated space.


Designed by SALT, the shop’s main room mimics the living rooms of European manors.

2. Clear as Day: Crisp White at Optimist Eyewear Store


A perfectly clean, crisp white terrace that looks almost like a pristine glass cube from the street is tucked into a dingy alleyway in Greece as part of optical shop c_29 / optimist.


The airy space by 314 Architecture Studio modernizes the classic Greek aesthetic, with the products tucked into prismatic sculptural furniture.

3. Hawaiian Theme for Pineapple Express Cannabis Store


A creative firm called McBride company is anticipating the day when the sale of both medical and recreational marijuana becomes legal nationwide, and has designed a concept for a national chain of cannabis retails stores called Pineapple Express.


“The industry needs to provide a sales experience that reflects the evolving perception of marijuana,” says CEO Pat McBride. “The store design and atmosphere we created offers consumers a space that incorporates all the elements of great retail design, but addresses the unique display and service challenges faced by the cannabis retail industry. Our goal was to make this a true retail experience, meaning customers should feel completely comfortable and entertained, while also safe and secure. Some elements of cannabis shops today have the opposite effect, especially when the focal point is a long consultation counter where customers must wait to be helped.”

4. Greenhouse Effect at Mit Mat Mama in Barcelona


Shoppers feel like they’re walking into a tropical greenhouse as they enter the Mit Mat Mama maternity store in Barcelona by architect Rom├ín Izquierdo Bouldstridge.


Emphasizing a feeling of freshness, harmony and natural beauty, the store consists of a modular system of wooden ladders stretching up to the ceiling that are used to display plants. The scheme adds visual interest without blocking views of the entire space.

5. Fiberglass Cave at SND Fashion Store by 3GATTI


Vertical sheets of white fiberglass hang from the ceiling of SND Fashion Store in Chongqing, China to create an undulating canopy that utterly transforms the entire interior.


Shanghai-based studio 3GATTI gets a little catty in their explanation for the design, saying “We used a very thin white translucent fiberglass material because of its fire resistance and the way it reacted to light, thus creating a ceiling landscape that would be a spectacular source of beauty and emptiness; perfect for every fashion victim.”

6. Modular Shelf System for Skechers Showroom

A dynamic display system of hundreds of mini wooden shelves can either jut out or lay flat against the wall to display select numbers of Skechers sneakers in this retail interior by Zemberek Design.


Continuing from a solid white wall onto a metal grate, the installation offers varying degrees of opacity and virtually limitless display options.

7. CNC-Cut Wooden Walls for FEIT Shoes


Within this New York shoe store, a floor-to-ceiling layering of birch plywood becomes a carved landscape as each individual sheet is CNC cut, hand-sanded and assembled into modules to offer benches, shelves and niches with built-in LED lighting.


Designer Jordan Maisie pairs a natural material with digital technology for a result that’s solid and translucent all at once.

8. Light-Diffusing Lattice for Innisfree


SOFTLab suspends a curvilinear system of lattice beneath a translucent glass greenhouse roof for the Innisfree flagship store in Seoul. The visual effect calls to mind gardens and growing systems, a perfect pairing for the all-natural Korean cosmetics brand.


Attached to the wooden lattice system are petal-like elements made from recycled paper reclaimed from Innisfree packaging.

9. Sunken Lounge Areas at Curvilinear R&D Studio


Customers can really get cosy in Vigoss R&D Studio, a curvaceous retail location for a textile company in Turkey by Zemberek Design. The entire space is lined with concrete, with walking and sitting surfaces clad in wood and lounge spaces sunken beneath the ground level.


In addition to offering seating with prime views of the merchandise, these sunken areas also contain hidden storage space for additional product.

10. Plywood Planes by PRODUCE


Two complementary retail spaces seamlessly blend into each other in this storefront within the School of the Arts building in Singapore.


Design studio PRODUCE created plywood volumes that give the shops the feel of a treehouse, with the sweets shop and home goods retailer separated by an ‘internal street.’

11. Ice Cream ’Truck’ in Korea


Retaining the charm of an ice cream truck in a stationary location might not be easy, but Betwin Space Design makes sure that the visual effect comes across from every vantage point of the corner storefront in Seoul.


Created for an ice cream shop called Remicone, the design features a faceted truck facade and a sterile white interior complementing the brand’s use of laboratory glassware as serving containers.

12. Reflective Staircase at St. Laurent by Hedi Slimane


Multiplied against a mirrored wall and standing starkly against a white ceiling and marble floor, the reflective staircase at the center of Hedi Slimane’s design for the Saint Laurent store in Milan doesn’t fail to catch the eye.


Everything about the glossy space, from the transparent display units to the cantilevered seating, says ‘polish’ and ‘luxury.’

13. Inviting Rice Store in Tokyo


Almost completely open to the street, this rice shop by Schemata Architects is part of a scheme to revitalize a formerly bustling shopping district in Tokyo.


The design encourages foot traffic and lingering outside with a sidewalk-facing counter and open-air display of rices and vinegars.

14. Floating Staircase at Bazar Noir


Lined in pale wood, the floating staircase descending from the second level of a shop called Bazar Noir almost seems like a portal to another dimension, so visually distinct it is from the darkened matte surfaces of the main floor.


Design firm Hidden Fortress designed a flexible layout that can be adapted to constantly changing exhibits, the heavy use of black conforming to the shop’s brand identity.

Top image: Asian Steinway & Sons Showroom. Credit: SALT.

[Source: Web Urbanist. Edited. Some links added.]