Amsterdam has a slew of attractions that has appealed to visitors from across the planet for many decades. But shopping, except for flower bulbs and cheese, never really ranked on their list due to few good stores, let alone luxury brand flagships. Mind you, it wasn’t until 2002 that the very first global luxury brand opened up shop here. But the tide has turned, and with accelerated speed the dutch capital sheds its old Calvinist feathers to embrace and appreciate sophisticated shopping and retail, and take its place among Europe’s leading shopping destinations.
Indicative of this trend is Four, a striking new concept store owned by upmarket dutch retailer Azzurro. Exclusively dedicated to savvy male shoppers, it sets new standards in local men’s retail along the way. The store is located on the city’s premier high-end shopping strip, and covers an area of 240 sqm. [2,583 sq.ft.] spread over three floors.
Design agency JSPR crafted a different retail environment on each floor that’s quite literally linked by a meandering and multipurpose steel frame. Minimalist and with sweeping surfaces in hues of grey, the interior is distinctly masculine and is further spiced up by beautiful hand-made cabinets and displays, and randomly mounted bell jars add a whimsical touch.
And anticipating the launch of future audio events, four features another innovation: a state-of-the-art void sound system with custom-made sound boxes. Complying with a different vibe on each floor, the merchandise has been loosely curated as well, leaving sufficient leverage to inventively showcase looks and styles.
The ground floor features apparel and shoe collections, Japanese accessories which are totally on trend, and which can be categorized as fashion. Complementing the coveted offerings are exclusive limited edition lifestyle books. The tiled-up basement section is home to street styles, with lots of premium denim, exclusive printed t-shirts and a compatible range of street-cred shoes and accessories.
The top floor is dedicated to tailored fashion, and features suits, jackets and shirts, in addition to very matching preppy items. Four’s brand list is an elaborate one with a few exclusive to the Netherlands, and currently includes 3.1 Phillip Lim, Mr. Bathing Ape, Maison Martin Margiela, Momotaro Jeans and Bedwin & The Heartbreakers. As a concept store, four aims to actively showcase different facets of contemporary culture, and plans to stage monthly in-store events.
Photography: Marjon Hoogervorst