Retail spaces: The top five global stores blurring the line between art and fashion

Globally, new store openings and redesigned spaces appear to have been inspired by a common muse this month; the exhibition. Retail and visual merchandising styling is usually a city-specific affair, but there’s no denying that intelligent presentation and conceptual in-store design is on the global agenda, with a lot of stores borrowing display techniques from gallery spaces. Brands have been channelling their inner curator and displaying product in innovative ways that go beyond the usual – think adaptable environments, shoppable installations and studio collaborations.

Descente Blanc

1. Descente Blanc (Tokyo)

19-4 Sarugakucho / 81 (0)3 6416 5989

Neighbourhood: Shibuya

Japanese sportswear brand Descente Blanc’s Tokyo store is fitted with moving rails courtesy of Schemata Architects. The visually striking use of floor-to-ceiling space turns the garments into a moving display, whilst also allowing change within the store layout. The stripped back aesthetic, large windows and neon strip lighting all give the store a gallery style interior, designed to neither distract from the displays or to simply blend away.

Caravan Paris

2. Caravan Sneaker Store (Paris)

5 rue Pastourelle / 33 1 42 78 37 35

Neighbourhood: Le Marais

This new footwear boutique utilises a compact space by taking design cues from gallery aesthetics. White boxes are stacked vertically at considered angles along the long, thin interior of Caravan, making a sculptural display – an intelligent self-decorating concept. The room is lit by an undulating light sculpture, complementing the other exhibition inspired elements and creating a space that showcases the bright, textured shoes as objects of desire.

Max Mara Maya Hayuk

3. Max Mara / Maya Hayuk (Multiple Locations)

813 Madison Avenue / (1) 212 879 6100

Neighbourhood: Upper East Side

This collaboration between designer Max Mara and artist Maya Hayuk pairs bold prints with sunglasses. Pushing this project past pure visuals is the fact that that the original artwork will be displayed in select stores. As the pieces travel from New York to Beijing and Milan, each store will become a temporary gallery space – host to a traveling exhibition. Art in-store is not uncommon with high end designers, but displaying the original pieces next to the objects they adorn feels fresh and inspiring.

Kat Maconie Pop Up

4. Pop! The Kat Maconie Shop (London)

Old Street Station EC1Y 1EB

Neighbourhood: Hoxton / Shoreditch

British footwear brand Kat Maconie has been re-imagined as a Pop-up, shop-able installation in Old Street tube station. Shoes are displayed on pedestals in a stripped back concrete pillared room. Using this traditionally sparse, gallery style display elevates the shoes, but the but the logo emblazoned across the glass, lame disco décor and fun colours channel the true spirit of the brand.

Versace New York Showroom

 5. Versace Showroom (New York)

3 Columbus Circle / (1) 212 317 0224

Neighbourhood: Upper West Side

Versace’s new showroom is designed by SO-IL and features movable furniture. Shunning a static layout, this allows the shop floor to be altered to work around changing collections. Inlaid brass tracks run along the polished concrete floor, allowing almost all elements to be re-positioned within the minimal space. The design of a space intended for regular change makes this showroom unique – the concept mirrors that of a museum, prepared to change to accommodate whichever exhibition may arrive.

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