NEW YORK CITY – Earlier this month, SoHo’s chic neighbourhood welcomed the arrival of the first Thakoon retail boutique. Sleek and feminine,the 230-sq-m showroom designed by SHoP Architects merges the brand’s vision of luxury with the firm’s focus on experimentation. Authenticity and craftsmanship are the inherent result of the handpicked raw materials – such as wood, brass, concrete and travertine – that line the interior. The layering of concrete in small batches invites customers to engage in a sensorial experience with the space; the tactility even tempts visitors to run their hands over the walls.
SHoP balances the integration of new technologies with the authenticity demanded by the brand’s core values. Coren Sharples, founding principal at SHoP, says that ‘digital Interfaces are becoming increasingly familiar, almost expected, in the retail world. But ultimately the experience of clothes is a sensual one and we didn’t want technology to intrude on that. As a result, one large screen on the far back wall divides the shop from the studio by conceptually dematerializing that boundary.’
The store not only offers crafted, effortlessly cool garments but revolutionizes the direct-to-consumer approach and modern luxury shopping at large. Customers are able to purchase collections hot off the runway, with limited-quantity releases occurring every two weeks. In addition to this, the space – complete with its own atelier at the rear of the boutique – facilitates an intimate relationship between designer and client. Thakoon Panichgul himself feels drawn to be on site: ‘There’s romance in that for me,’ he says. ‘I think of Coco Chanel coming down from her apartment [on the Rue Cambon] to her store and seeing customers.’