Cypriot fashion designer Hussein Chalayan is known for creating the extraordinary by taking something banal (a coffee table) and turning it into something equally banal (a skirt) using a less-than-banal gesture (telescopic levitation). Most recently, he came up with shirtdresses that dissolve under a shower of water to reveal evening-wear beneath. We can only hope that Chalayan will one day come up with an entire collection that mutates into, say, a shop featuring clothes from that collection. Until then, London’s ZCD Architects are distilling physical space for him.
The outfit’s latest boutique, which in true Chalayan fashion can be converted from store to event venue, opened this autumn on London’s Bourdon Street; described by ZCD as a ‘shop-within-a-shop’, the store is defined by a black steel frame. The metal structure both preserves and reshapes the space, while also serving as a hanging rack. Inside are only two other objects: a black boat hull-cum-bench that functions as seating, display unit or dinner table; and a black-lacquered cash counter in which a digital timer marks the passage of time without telling the precise day or hour. A ‘threshold zone’ at the entrance marked by jet-black floor tiles signals the transition from the street into another territory.
Minimal finishes in black and white reinforce the boundaries of the retail floor while providing a graphical yet discreet backdrop. ZCD didn’t want the interior ‘to wrestle with’ its content for the visitors’ attention. Instead of being mano a mano, the two fit hand in glove.