On a recent trip to Paris, we visited one of the most exciting new retail spaces: the Victor & Rolf flagship store. The Dutch fashion duo and French design consultancy Architecture & Associés designed an unconventional high-end retail environment.
Spanning two floors, all the fittings, walls and furniture are covered in or made from grey felt – an unusual move for a luxury retail space, which are typically designed with polished natural materials like stone, wood and glass. Felt moves beyond its utilitarian association by the material’s abundant use and design detailing, generating an inviting and absorbing experience.
Felt 2-5mm thick is layered onto the walls and formed into curved relief structures, suggesting classical architectural detail. The only other colour comes from the clothing and accessories, and the dominance of neutral grey accentuates the products displayed.
As felt covers most of the surfaces, it is enticingly touchable – if slightly surreal. For instance, doors are flush and become just outlines in a felt wall. But the addition of overhead white lighting panels and the deep felt shelving and dividing walls provides a sense of intimacy and a space to linger in.
For more on incoming trends and innovations regarding layout, ambience, VM and materials within the store space see Store Design Directions and Future Store Environments - both part of our Future of the Store Industry Trend. See also Quiet Space: In Search of Comfort & Tranquility for more on the growing desire (and value) of quiet spaces. For more on the upscaling of material to enhance product or experience, see our Precious Craft rationale.