Gentle Monster is an eyewear brand, right? Well, now the Seoul-based company can also add ‘set designers for an entire department store’ to its bag of tricks. In a radical retail move, the in-house design team was called upon to deck out the interiors of SKP-S, the forward-facing offshoot of Beijing’s SKP luxury mall.
Beijing – They’ve created a buzz in a way that no other brand has done before – a reason for people to get off the couch and visit a sunglasses store. So said Tim Rupp, design director of retail environments for Nike, during last year’s Frame Awards deliberations. The London outpost was up for Single-Brand Store of the Year, an award it eventually took home. Eventually being the operative word, since there was a crumb of criticism prior to the final decision. Namely, that this store wasn’t quite as extreme or immersive as some of its predecessors. Basically, Gentle Monster’s biggest competition was its existing portfolio.
The brand is no longer just one to watch – it’s a force to be reckoned with. Glasses aside, it’s amassed a string of destination stores that inspire desire. While it’s not exactly surprising that someone else wanted a piece of that pie, it is interesting that Gentle Monster was willing to take its house style out of house. The story goes that as a big fan of Gentle Monster’s stores, the CEO of luxury mall SKP in Beijing, Mr Ji, called up the eyewear brand’s founder and chief executive, Hankook Kim. Ji was developing a hip new offshoot of SKP called SKP-S (the ‘S’ stands for south), and wanted to discuss a potential collaboration.