Designing a flagship store for a well-established chain such as Sunglass Hut means retaining certain signature elements, including a black-and-white color scheme and moveable floor display fixtures, while still moving the design forward.
“A client may come to us with certain pieces, but you can do a lot with those pieces,” says Robin Elmslie Osler, principal at EOA (New York). “It’s all in how you put them together.”
While generating ideas for a new store in SoHo, Osler and her team looked at images of ships and shipbuilding and decided to take the notion of a “flagship” literally. Though the allusion may not be obvious to customers, the walls of the narrow store have fins resembling the architecture of a ship that emerge to divide the wall space into bays. Shoppers are drawn in by the sense of discovery as each space becomes visible, and the fixture package, Osler says, creates a more meandering path by preventing a straight shot to the back of the store.
Working with the rectangular space, Osler also wanted to leave a piece of the existing structure intact, “as though we had peeled the skin off this old building and exposed the ribs underneath.” So an exposed brick wall was left uncovered but painted white to help reflect light and bring brightness into the store.