In times of economic grief, the world of retail becomes a battlefield to attract customers and with so many brands on the market, it takes bold strokes to prevail from the rest. Every few months it seems a new flagship has opened, and brands are making their mark on the map with a radical and explosive architectural vision.
Retailers constantly hunt for established architects and designers to apply their academic sensibilities to elevate a brand in order to create an impressive design. For emerging firms and designers, the chance to create a cool concept store for an establish brand is the way to brand your name on the global design stage.

Design Contract present selection of amazing and inspirational retail spaces design projects of 2014.

Siki Im Concept Store Deign by Leon Leong

New York based design studio Leong Leong has designed the Siki Im Concept Store in New York. In designer’s words, “The concept store, designed in collaboration with fashion designer Siki Im, seeks to radically transform the existing space and breakdown the traditional norms of retail and exchange. The structure, which is the former sales trailer for the HL23 building designed by Neil Denari, is filled end to end with large ramp-form that creates an unexpected gathering space with undefined programmatic possibilities.

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Soy-based spray foam used to cover the interior and exterior of the structure creating a supple surface for inhabitation on which visitors are required to remove their shoes. Small niches and ledges are carved into the foam to create areas for display and seating. The clothes are embedded beneath the ramp on either end, encouraging visitors to explore the extents of the space and experience the clothes in very intimate environments.

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Amazing Lightning Concept for Vogue Caffe in Printemp’s by Delightfull

When you come in the atrium of Printemps Haussman, the highlight captivates all attentions: Vogue Paris new pop-up café fulfills the space with the loftiness of Delightfull lamp Clark XL and Brubeck wall lamps specially conceived for this trendy area. The Parisian biggest department store welcomes a fashion atmosphere of a private apartment, bringing together Fifties-style modernism, Scandinavian design, mid-century modern sculptures and some of Vogue’s most dazzling magazine covers, with Delightfull opulent gold chandeliers and mannequins carefully dressed by the magazine’s stylists.

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Centauro Concept Store Design by AUM Architects

The project for a concept store for Centauro at Shopping Cidade Jardim in São Paulo, Brazil, exploit some strong elements that the brand already has. The idea started from a design that shows, somehow, similarity to the existing brand and not a complete rupture. For the coating of walls and ceilings, we used successive rings of white aluminum composite material of 1.25 m, arranged diagonally both vertical and horizontal, forming no parallel plans. These plans support products and allow an indirect lighting, creating a large box of light. The inclination of the panels also gives a better view of products behind glasses.

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The red track is another prominent element of the project. We treat it as an area that spreads through the store and becomes unusual and impressive elements. At the junction of the two axes, practically in the heart of the area, appears in the lining of the mezzanine, emphasizing the strength of the brand and becoming a corporate identification element. From this centre it covers the walls at the background of the store, turning on to a ladder. The red area surrounding the mezzanine, showing up in the upper deck and the lining in the lower deck, becomes part of the counter box and a vertical plan that set the limits to the fitting room area.

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Amsterdam Starbucks The Bank Concept Store Design

Starbucks’s New Coffee Experience ‘Laboratory’ in Amsterdam March 8, Starbucks had opened a new concept store in Amsterdam. With its ‘Slow’ Coffee Theatre, hyper-local design, floating community gathering spaces and on-site bakery, Starbucks ‘The Bank’ is a glimpse into Starbuck’s vision of the future. While over the last few years Starbucks has gone to great lengths to reinforce the superlative quality of its coffee and products, under the radar they’ve been re-defining the atmosphere in which we drink it. In Seattle, New York, London, Paris and now Amsterdam, Starbucks has been stealthily unveiling unique, highly individualized and local concept stores across America.

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Situated in a 430 square meter (4,500 sqf) subterranean space in the vault of a historic bank on the popular Rembrandtplein, the new shop, while the latest in a string of Starbucks concept stores, is the first in the world they are openly referring to as a ‘laboratory’. A large beautiful store inspired by contemporary Dutch culture and its deep coffee tradition, The Bank was purposely created to push Starbucks beyond its comfort zone in terms of innovation and experimentation. What works in the Amsterdam store will make its way to the rest of Europe.

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Stuart Weitzman Store Design by Fabio Novembre

“They searched and poked around my closets, looking for skeletons, but, thank God, all they found were shoes, marvelous shoes,” smiled Imelda Marcos, the former First Lady of the Philippines. Imelda Marcos eliminated the feelings of guilt in women who, like Carrie Bradshaw in “Sex and the City”, now uninhibitedly flaunt their fetish objects.

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Shoes are the perfect modern project: a product of superb craftsmanship transformed from a mere object into a thing of desire. Clothes do not adapt to changes to the body, but shoes always fit the feet that buy and wear them: perhaps that’s why women love Stuart Weitzman. When Stuart asked me to design places for displaying the shoes he designs, I immediately thought of precious boxes wrapped up, “Christo style”, like gift boxes for his customers, with an uninterrupted ribbon that runs all along the space, creating paths on which the shoes trace vectors of desire.

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Sergio Rossi Concept Store Design by Younes Duret Design

Sergio Rossi and Wallpaper* magazine continue to collaborate on the Men’s Footwear World Tour announcing the opening of the next location in Casablanca. Following resounding success with the first stop on the Men’s Footwear Tour in Brera, Milan’s most stylish district, Sergio Rossi launched a second men’s shoe store in Galeries Lafayette Casablanca on December 2011.

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The World Tour concept has been inspired by the essence of the ‘Sergio Rossi’ man – an independent, free-thinking, seductive man and importantly, one who is on a constant journey of discovery. It is in Milan that the journey began in 2010 – with the launch of Sergio Rossi’s first concept store. Situated in fashionable Brera, the store showcases the entire men’s collection designed by the Creative Director of the brand, Francesco Russo. In 2011 the tour continues. The next ventures on the grand tour will be developed along with a rising design star in each country, to create the environments, local vernacular and an understanding of heritage being an imperative part of the experience and journey. “Morocco, a Mediterranean country, both geographically and cultural, is a country where garment is great with refined kaftans and colourful djellabas, where craftsmanship is particularly rich and architecture is majestic” comments Younes Duret, the French-Moroccan designer of the store in Casablanca. He combines strong Moroccan ethnicity with a creative transgression to design a liberated and inspiring space. The motifs Duret has used are a modern inflection on an ancient form, as he creates a composition consisting of a mantelpiece of a repeated 3-dimenionsal oriental pattern as the platform for the men’s shoe collection.

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“We apply creative transgression to make the space more free, liberated, inspired, through shifts in proportions, the materials and colours used, the extra detailing and the high-quality craftsmanship” according to Duret, in response to Creative Director Russo – “we steer clear of the conventional, we decry the formulaic, we re-invent the classic. We reject the outdated cliché – we champion the stylish man’s right to look elegant”.

Design Contract will continue to share with you fantastic ideas for your office design, interior design, corporate interior design (see article “10 Best hospitality design projects: Restaurant & Bar Design Award Winners” here), commercial interior design, luxury hotel design (see article “Luxury Hotel Design- International Hotel Awards Winner Ararat Park Hyatt Moscow” here), top design events (see article “North America’s Premier Show- Architectural Digest Home Design Show 2014. Best exhibitors”) and best design projects (see article “The 2014 Architectural Digest 100 top talents in architecture and interior design” here). Don’t forget to subscribe this blog and to follow us on Facebook, Twitter, Google + and Pinterest.