16 May 2019 • New York City
How can a shoe store compete with the bright lights of Radio City Music Hall?
On their own, Camper shoes are quite eye-catching. On their own, Camper stores are quite eye-catching – for a sampler, see the company's most recent Barcelona outpost, designed by Kengo Kuma. But placed next to the very bright lights of Radio City Music Hall, any space can look drowned out.
This is the architectural version of "if you can't beat them, join them"
That’s why, instead of fighting the landmark’s shine, the Camper team decided to complement instead of competing – basically, an architectural version of ‘if you can’t beat them, join them.’
Guest designer Jonathan Olivares took the conceptual helm of the Rockefeller Center location, paying tribute to its surroundings. The displays, benches and service desk, designed to look like arcade columns, are made from Indiana limestone, the same material used on the iconic building’s façade. In terms of colour, the store’s interior is painted silver and a large neon Camper logo uses the red and blue shades of the Radio City marquee. ‘The store’s design engages its location, bringing aspects of the surrounding architecture into the shop and celebrating them,’ explained Olivares.
But beyond the artistic applications, a functional element caught our eye: just like the San Francisco FEIT location we recently featured, this shoe store has also decided to eliminate the stockroom altogether, bringing it forward to the public side of the shop – their reasoning, as well, is the aim to provide a more transparent and engaging environment for customers. Instead of using exposed shelves, though, this store uses mobile archives like the ones usually seen in museum storage spaces. Perhaps it’s a nod to the MoMa, another iconic building in its vicinity?
The takeaway: If you’re paying for a prime real estate location near iconic buildings, it pays to pay homage to them – in a brand-consistent way.