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The Zazen Bear Flagship store, located in Soho, NYC, is a Korean-Japanese multi-use concept shop that serves as a retail space, art gallery, and meditation center. Within a space designed to encourage peace, tranquility and harmony, Zazen features products, including jewelry, housewares and Zen spirited items; wellness programming, including yoga and meditation classes; and an art gallery, presently exhibiting painting and calligraphy work by the Japanese artist, Seiho.

The design of the store echoes the soft curves of the brand’s meditative symbol, the Zazen Bear, a plush, stuffed bear sitting in the lotus position, intended to act as a reminder to stop, breathe deeply, and embrace the inner self. The curves and the symmetry of the bear, which follow the golden ratio, became the starting point for a design aimed at generating a calming environment. The store entry is a threshold mediating between the bustling streets of Soho and a space that fosters serenity, comfort, and meditation—a multi-use space of Zen.

The atmosphere is achieved by the synthesis of materials and organic forms. A double-height plant wall comprising of purifying plants—Philodendron-Cordatum and Marble-Queen Pothos—traverses the space vertically, linking the retail level and the sub-grade gallery and meditation center. The lower level, accessed by a metal stair with inset wood treads, features an oil-finished, white oak, tongue-and-groove floor alongside a wood-slat bench with built-in lighting at which the plant wall terminates.

Pietra di Vals stone, featured throughout the upper floor, is complemented by the hand-finished, white-oak millwork elements that include curved walls, display cases, and wood members of varying lengths, which surround a large-scale elliptical light fixture. The upper, retail level terminates in a circular room made distinct by its fabric-lined walls and illuminated by light strips embedded in the ceiling that follow the curve of the room.

Sinfonia Group (Pierpaolo Martiradonna, Matteo Falcone, Veronica Kan, Francesco Marocco)
Abs Engineering (Alex Schwartz, Jason Driggs, Brian Barkovitz)
Exa Usa ( Ulderico Micara, Giorgio Gaiofatto, Gaia Galvagna)
Shore System (Chris Guido)
Arredo Inn (Valter Betti)
Photography: Ashley Simone
Awards: 2015 New York Design Awards – SILVER WINNER_Interior design – Retail

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