Dover Street Market by Rei Kawakubo, London

October 11th, 2011 by retail design blog

Dover Street Market is a retail space divided over six distinctive floors packed with avant-garde fashion, design and art objects. The focal point on the ground and first floor is ‘The Hut’, a large installation that doubles as a register and stock room. Rose Bakery on the top floor offers simple yet exquisite cuisine while Soundshop (basement) gladdens the soul with its curation of divine music.

An eclectic mix of designers mingles seamlessly with Comme des Garcons lines and unique collaborations with style icons Alber Elbaz (Lanvin), Raf Simons, Jan de Cock, Judy Blame, Hiroshi Fujiwara, Casy Vidalenc, Undercover and John Galliano make this store an unparalleled retail experience. Cameron Silver’s Decades adds an exciting mix of 20th century vintage couture to the 3rd floor.

Thats how Dover Street Market looks like, quite calm, not really too flashy…. a typical London building. But once you enter this place you notice rather quickly that this is not like any other shop or location in London.

Rei Kawakubo is the head designer of Comme des Garcons, the brand that created this place. That’s what he has to say about the vision behind Dover Street Market: “I want to create a kind of market where various creators from various fields gather together and encounter each other in an ongoing atmosphere of beautiful chaos; the mixing up and coming together of different kindred souls who all share a strong personal vision”

Every floor features furniture designed by Comme des Garcons. Nothing expresses more how Rei Kawakubo feels at the present time than the huts on the ground and first floor. The whole interior is a clashing, confusing, energetic environment where the traditional concept of a retail “corner” is broken down by Kawakubo’s vision of synergy and accident. Interventions by artists, film and theatre set designers mingle haphazardly with Kawakubo’s display and furniture ideas, and each designer’s concept for their respective space.

The store is constantly evolving with each season bringing a new panoply of innovative collections, designers and curated spaces. Highlights to date include Alber Elbaz [Lanvin] designing a special white collection exclusive to Dover Street Market. For the opening of DSM, Hedi Slimane [Dior Homme] designed a limited edition of ebony and black metal epoxy furniture for the store. In this exquisite collection, Hedi Slimane transforms the archaic function of furniture by paring proportions to their most simple architectural lines.

DSM hosted and exhibited the 2005 Royal College of Art graduate collection and this season Hiroshi Fujiwara, the Japanese pioneer of iconic contemporary design, invaded the basement at DSM with an eclectic collection of designs for life; his portfolio of temptations include a collaboration with Jun Takahashi and VisVim .

Here some useful information on the people that had influence on Dover Street Market and that took part in the creation process of the interior.
– 1200 square metres divided into six floors
– Overall Design and Concept: Rei Kawakubo
– Furniture: Rei Kawakubo
– 4th Floor and basement: Elise Capdenat, Theatre and Dance Scenographer
– 1st and 3rd Floor: Michael Howells, film set designer, working on Rei Kawakubo’s brief of “Shakespeare meets Picasso” and “Cabaret” for the 1st floor and 3rd floor respectively
– 2nd Floor: Jan de Cock, Artist
– Ground Floor Reception: Vedovamazzei, Artists
– Drawings/ Realisation: Ishimaru KK4_1
– Construction Japan: Ishimaru KK
– Construction England: Mark, Richard Stevve at E.I.T- Diplomacy/Organisation: Adrian Joffe, Dickon Bowden

by David

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