02 Oct 2019 •
Camper Together with Jonathan Olivares - Rockefeller Center Store
This Camper shop —located in Rockefeller Center, and positioned across the street from Radio City Music Hall—sits within a work of landmark architecture. When these spaces opened in 1933, they were state-of-the-art buildings that promoted community, artistic pursuit, a new breed of efficient architecture and mechanical invention, and popular culture. The shop engages its location, bringing aspects of the surrounding architecture inside, celebrating and reworking them. In homage to City Music Hall, designed by Edward Durell Stone and Donald Deskey, the shops interior is painted with aluminium paint and features a neon Camper logo. Shoe stock is kept in space-efficient, archival shelves, which allow continuity between the front and back of house. The tables, benches and cash register are made from Indiana limestone, the same material that Rockefeller Center’s architect Raymond M Hood used on the buildings facade. While Hood’s facade is made of flat tiles, the shop’s furnishings are three dimensional objects, carved with robotic saw blades from blocks limestone. From within the shop the visitor has one of the best views of Radio City Music Hall, except now the view has been co-opted and reads Camper Radio City.
This store engages with its architectural setting in a way that furthers the original mission of the surrounding context. This shop takes the values—craftsmanship, technical invention, conviviality—that were the social core of Rockefeller Center, and brings them into the 21st century. The shop uses the same materials from the site in a contemporary way. Where the facade of Rockefeller Center was made with flat cut tiles of Indiana limestone, we used robotic milling to make three dimensional shop furniture from the same material. Where Rockefeller Center pioneered the escalator in a retail environment, we employed archival shelves as an open stockroom within the shop, getting rid of the award division between front and back of house, and allowing more face-to-face time between sales associate and customer. To connect the shop to the sidewalks and plazas of Rockefeller Center we paved the floor using sidewalk concrete—which allows the customer to see what their shoes will look like out in the city. The aluminium and neon from Radio City lent themselves for signage, lighting and reflective walls, which coupled with the limestone furniture, provide a neutral color background for the display of Camper’s colorful shoes.