Montreal – ‘Good luck when you want to change anything,’ David Chipperfield jokes to client Ssense. In today’s fast-paced fashion world, the renowned architect’s contribution to physical retail for the e-commerce label’s first store is a monolithic composition of rigid materials like concrete, mirrors and steel.
Though counterintuitive, the grey-washed Ssense Montreal store takes a futuristic approach to translating the online-shopping interface into three dimensions. As more and more e-retailers are taking the surprising step of moving their services into the real world, Chipperfield creates a space that offers ‘experiential qualities’. For the opening event, Venezuelan music producer Arca created Tormenta, a site-specific installation and performance exploring the relationship between body, capture and spaces as containment. (Tormenta lives on in an online film that may be disturbing to some viewers – the physicality of the performance is evocative of the apprehension of a suspect, showcasing the Ssense space from the point-of-view of a CCTV security camera.)