08 Jan 2020 • Retail
Half basketball court, half retail space, how Unknwn’s Miami post builds community
Endless sunshine, galleries, beaches and nightlife: Miami is nothing if not a colourful city. Every year, artists, designers and creatives flock to the South Floridian cultural centre for Miami Art Week. Basketball superstar LeBron James, Jaron Kanfer and Frankie Walker Jr. – co-founders of multi-brand fashion retailer Unknwn – took advantage of the occasion to premiere their brand’s second flagship store, which features 279 sq-m of retail space and an open-air courtyard with a vibrant basketball-court-cum-cultural-hub.
Just a stone’s throw from popular outdoor international street art and graffiti museum Wynwood Walls, the second Unknwn location is strategically positioned to become a staple of Miami’s art and design scene. The retailer designed the destination with visual artist John Margaritis of the multidisciplinary collective New York Sunshine. Together, they collaborated with artists and designers to give the space soul, as the first-and-foremost intention behind the venture is to foster a creative community.
‘We want our brand and stores to be the canvas for a global community to feel welcome, excited, and express themselves through interacting with our space, brands, and events,’ explains Kanfer. ‘We draw inspiration from our community and that is something that’s reflected in the way the collections have room to evolve without compromising the integrity of the Unknwn design.’
Handcrafted details define every nook and cranny of Unknwn Wynwood’s concrete-dominated interiors, which showcase a curated selection of ready-to-wear designer apparel, sneakers and collectable items. A bespoke water feature – built from over 2,200 kilos of concrete by Margaritis – is an entryway spectacle. Gushing out 2,404 kilos of water over 2.3 cubic metres, the arresting copper-clad installation is by all means the spatial centrepiece. Designer collections and collaborations (one with Thom Browne kicked off Wynwood’s opening) are presented on 20-plus displays, and a steel-cut tubed checkout area is set up in front of nine large-format LED screens. Elsewhere, custom-designed concrete shelving ‘exhibit’ 175 hype-worthy kicks and LED-lit shelves hang in front of steel-and-glass garage doors that overlook the courtyard.
To further ‘fuse fashion, sport, culture and community,’ according to James, the 372-sq-m multi-use courtyard space and graphic basketball court will play host to a variety of community events; since the store’s opening, the Miami Herald reports that brand has held a three-on-three basketball tournament and a concert. Boasting verdant gardens and over 60 metres of muralled wall space, the court’s surroundings will constantly evolve to represent what's going on in the local community of creatives.