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Universal Design Studio has completed work on the first concept store for the international fashion brand, Kipling. The store, located in the Wijnegem Shopping district in Antwerp, Belgium, is part of a rolling programme of worldwide, Kipling store refurbishments under Universal Design Studio’s design direction. Picking up on the theme of Kipling’s well-established global community, the store has been designed around a central ‘living room’ area.

The living room, marked out by a change in the tile pattern, emulates a domestic living space. Furnished with a combination of vintage furniture and modern lighting, this ‘chill out’ space invites the customer to relax and socialise with fellow customers within the store. The living room also acts a means for Kipling to develop a relationship between brand and user. The living wall, a grid form, modular display unit, allows site specific community content, merchandise and campaigning material to be displayed and changed on a regular basis.

An exposed concrete surround frames the full height, glazed shop front of the store intending to create a feeling of gravity. This contrasts with the lightweight and constantly evolving display furniture. This flexible, modular furniture, including display trees and leaf tables, allow an ever-changing platform on which the products can be arranged. The dark grey internal and external signage is silhouetted against the stark, white walls, plinth and scrim backdrop. Changing back lit campaign images and projections of brand collateral help to create texture and variation.

Encaustic tiles have been used to create a bespoke, mosaic flooring which provides a strong, geometric pattern that does not interfere with the product. The perimeter wall of the store is clad in white oil stained oak panels, which provides a soft and subtle background for the products on display. Wall units include single shelves, running shelves, bespoke bag hooks, recessed niches and display draws. The wall display is constructed from white oil stained oak as well as sandblasted and grey-toned mirror. The display system is flexible, uncluttered and can be manipulated to suit seasonal displays. To accompany the wall display is a series of ‘building like’ freestanding furniture constructed from powder-coated steel with Corian surfaces. Internally lit and bold in colour, the furniture, including; shelving units, display boxes, tables and the cash desk, resemble a miniature cityscape when placed together.

Universal Design Studio’s concept achieves more than just a fashion boutique. The concept is focused on promoting Kipling as more than just a brand. It looks at promoting the company as a global design community. The Kipling shop will provide a place for the Kipling community to converge and make itself heard.

Photography by Serge Brison

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