ANTWERP, Belgium – As environmental sustainability and ethical production methods become buzzwords for start-ups and young brands, Lies Mertens calls upon local Belgian designers Atelier Bontekoe van Put to design their first store in Antwerp. Inspired by the accessory brand’s 100% biodegradable leather products, the design of the retail space features a palette of natural earth tones while minimizing its ecological footprint.
The studio completely transforms an old garage with an ultra-minimalist concept, featuring steel as the material of choice. Atelier Bontekoe van Put applies the paper-thin sheets of metal to line and delineate the different areas of the space. A different sculptural set is designed for each wall; a stark and compelling backdrop to display the handbags and wallets.
With details as fine as those in the leather stitching, each element focuses on a unique narrative. From curved socles to angular shelving, the steel is crafted to create a cohesive story throughout the visitor’s journey through the store. At the same time, the freestanding sculptural display elements allow Lies Mertens to adapt to future functions of the space.
Edgy and smooth, curved and minimalist – the juxtapositions foster a dialogue with the distinct aesthetic of the products. Like an art installation, the space is curated to fit the message delivered by its displays, conveying the brand’s identity with clarity and honesty – stripping away any unnecessary frills, just as the accessory brand does in its own products.