Fashion retailer America Today tasked us with converting a derelict 17th-century chapel in the Belgian city of Ostend into a modern clothing store. Our goal was to carry out the transformation of the church with respect for the building’s architecture to let its former glory shine through, while at the same time creating enough display and storage space. The solution proved to be the construction of a mezzanine level in the apse of the church to accommodate fitting rooms and storage.
The fitting rooms were installed in triptych form: a playful nod to the building’s former function. By the use of plain materials such as Oregon pine, blackened steel and plywood, we stressed the roots of America Today as an importer of authentic American campus style basic clothing. We further emphasized this connection by the instalment of a giant American-style fire escape: it separates the store from the street, yet also allows the shopping public a glimpse of the America Today devotees inside.