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The North Face in Chadstone is a tribute to exploration. The store’s design forms a dialogue between man and nature, emanating the essence of the brand. The intent of the stores design was to strengthen its connection to the landscapes with which many of its customers interact. The North Face always strives to connect people with the outdoors, believing that “exploration creates an indelible bond with the outdoors”. Our inspiration for this project was about capturing the crux of this; strengthening the connection to the environment, and finding a balance between manmade and nature.

Entering the store indicates the beginning of an adventure, a departure point where you are met with forest trees and plywood ribs that mimic the curvaceous nature of a mountain. The organic outline of each mountain rib creates a backdrop to the shopfront, as well as a gentle guide into the interior of the store. Its structure creates visual connections between the interior and exterior of the shop.

It does so by extending one of its composing elements, the top plywood rib, deeper into the centre of the store. The defined and curvilinear course of the ceiling articulates the totality of the store, inheriting the characteristics of a stream. Customers are drawn to the back of the store by a path mirroring the ceiling that delimits the open ceiling forest areas. The path culminates at the shoe wall lightbox drawing people to the back of the store.

Customers are presented with options of following the defined boundaries of the trail and getting lost beyond those limits into the forest areas. The store layout was resolved through the existing structure of the store. Our intent in doing this was to empathise once more the dialogue that can exist between manmade and nature. Existing columns determined the forests, which then outlined the flow of the river creating the path.

Design: CoMa
Photography: Greta Costello

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