Wednesday 31 Aug 2011


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New concept Stefanel flagship store opens in Hamburg by Sybarite changing the way customers perceive the brand.

Completed in September 2010, this 580 m2 Stefanel flagship store in Hamburg is, to date, the largest using this new concept. Sybarite's brief from this Italian knitwear brand was for a complete reinvention, appealing to a younger, more upscale market. Contrasting their existing conventional, orthogonal shop design.

Their approach was modern and free-flowing, an architectural language of curvy simplicity repeated in every detail. This language would not only rejuvenate the shops but become synonymous with their brand. Through repetition and variation, modular components build a sculptural composition from which walls and displays emerge. Expressed joints suggest visible stitching, a knitting together of separate parts into a whole, while flowing transitions between straight and curved areas create a journey through the space.

Contrasting with the textural fibres of knitwear, the sleek reflectivity of the palette is an effective backdrop to the clothes. Stefanel's plans for rollout in over 600 locations worldwide demanded exceptional value for money, ease of installation and adaptability to widely varying contexts, from small department store corners to sensitive historic buildings.

A bespoke socket system in the wall units supports a variety of different rails, shelves, mirrors, etc, making the kit flexible and applicable to any site.

To address the challenges of displaying knitwear, a bespoke mannequin was developed, contoured with a flocking material which holds the garments in place and brings their detailing into view. By providing non-slip functionality in such a graphic and recognisable way, a display prop moves beyond its obvious purpose to enhance brand identity. Pre-fabricating the lacquered GRP and stainless steel components allowed easy assembly and minimised works on site, key to reducing costs.

Making the GRP pieces from moulds optimised cost-effectiveness for mass production, while the modularity and durability enables pieces to be easily moved and reused in new locations.

Dark slate floors and matt black ceilings frame the wall units, drawing attention to the clothes. Large stretched-fabric light clouds, also prefabricated, cast diffused, flattering light. Along with the slate, leather seating introduces a natural material, softening the modern edges. The design gives Stefanel a practical and cost-effective formula, allowing new components and ensuring adaptability to meet future needs.

Delivering a sophisticated edge without intimidating, the concept has changed the way customers perceive this high street brand, and Stefanel report dramatically increased sales.