Dr. Martens, London

April 4th, 2011 by retail design blog

A Dr. in the House

A PVC curtain in Dr. Martens yellow defines the brand's London pop-up shop.

Originally standard-issue for the working man, Dr. Martens became the counterculture boot of choice. Clearly articulating that transformation is the brand’s London pop-up shop, which materialized for a six-month run at Old Spitalfields Market.

Seeking a kindred rebellious spirit to wage guerrilla retail war, the manufacturer settled on the upstart firm Campaign, which conspired with the branding consultant Fresh to mirror not just a mercantile identity but also an austere economy. The strategy was to invert the shopping experience, so customers feel as if they’re entering through an off-limits stockroom.

The no-frills 1,900-square-foot space, more punk club than luxe boutique, earns its street cred with spray-painted, stenciled signage on the glass facade and concrete floor. Shipping pallets and shrink wrap amp up the warehouse vibe in the form of a cashier’s desk and scattered display platforms—ditto for industrial steel racks and construction lamps. A PVC curtain and a fluorescent-lit concrete wall glow in signature Dr. Martens yellow.

The concept has already spawned a Seattle spin-off, and there are similar plans for New York. Both cities, like London, lend themselves to the Dr. Martens credo: “The best form of rebellion is individualism.”

Images courtesy of Hufton + Crow.

Edited by Annie Block, Mark McMenamin and Meghan Edwards — Interior Design, 11/1/2009

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