HAMBURG – A measured touch of flamboyance distinguishes the new Apropos concept store for men in Hamburg, designed by Paris studio Rodolphe Parente in collaboration with Benjamin Liatoud. The double-height tenancy is in a listed building that offers shoppers a scenic view of Lake Alster. The embedded history of the location, along with an abundance of natural light, gave the architects plenty to work with. The store is split into two spacious rooms that are connected by a small corridor.

Apropos, an established brand known for presenting carefully curated selections of luxury items from the international fashion world, kept the brief to a minimum, asking only that its signature pink be included in the interior design. To that end, Parente chose a soft rose for walls and ceilings, a comforting tone often used to add warmth to residential living rooms – refined yet inviting. He says he wanted an environment that would speak to the modern man: ‘Apropos is not only a concept store. It also represents a lifestyle. The project narrates this lifestyle with a neoclassical expression.’ He and his team achieved the desired visual symphony by implementing their plan with careful precision. Layering the space with bold graphic materials, Parente played with a duality of texture, confronting raw with opulent, precious with patinated. Marble panels used throughout – in arched window displays and as wall skirting and joinery – are marked with striking chromatic variations. These slabs of natural stone are juxtaposed against the richly lacquered surfaces of screens made from a striated cherry-coloured timber. Large fluted columns with golden-bronze bases house the store’s heating system. Metallic surfaces appear on a greater scale in a triptych of panels over the corridor, which mediates the two main retail areas. Loose furniture and carpets flaunt both powdery and inky hues.

In the architects’ interpretation of a lifestyle with a lyrical aesthetic, we find a sense of harmony that relies largely on contrasts of texture and tone. Parente draws a link between this detail-orientated approach and the brand, saying, ‘It is like a jacket – when you wear it, you can put your hand in a pocket and feel the satin lining. You feel and see something as if it is designed for and dedicated to you alone.’ 

Photos Volker Lammers