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Once known as The Spaceship, due to its purple and green lights and glass floors, the flagship store of Dutch retailer Shoebaloo recently refreshed its fifteen-year-old appearance. MVSA Architects left the future behind, giving way to a gradient of gold walls and anthracite.

But the renovation was no spontaneous act. The store is located on PC Hooftstraat, Amsterdam’s most exclusive shopping street. The district had experienced a slump in sales around 2015 and the year following when the euro suffered a devaluation, the Russian visitor buying power was weakened and terrorist attacks in Western Europe were deterring tourism. This resulted in some of Shoebaloo’s neighbours leaving the street altogether. But now, with a consistent growth in residents and international tourism reaching over 18 million in 2017, Amsterdam and PC Hooftstraat have regained their spot as a prime place for fashion investment.

And then there was the matter of their footpath. In 2015, the city decided to widen the rather minute sidewalks the street was known for – a matter that many local shoppers, keen to discreetly hop from their easily parked cars directly into the stores, certainly appreciated. Now, the widened spaces have removed an entire flank of parking availability and has, in some ways, negatively affected the halo of exclusivity that reigned in the artery. But there is a silver lining, as the change has noticeably amplified the foot traffic.

With this growth in mind, MVSA saw the potential to use curb appeal as a method for attracting customers into the store; by slathering the façade in natural stone with a liquid-like patterning of white, grey and moss green, the expressive doorway pulls people into the directional and updated space.

But once inside, Shoebaloo went against nature, deciding to focus on the power of the products sold over the environment’s theatrics. The rich materials and hues create a supportive background for the heels and boots by the likes of Givenchy, Saint Laurent and Tom Ford.

The street is demonstrating its staying power in the exclusive market, with Fendi, Hermès and Isabel Marant all scheduled to move in by the end of 2018. This may prove that luxury in Amsterdam is no longer waning, and Shoebaloo is a strong harbinger of what’s to come for the city’s high-end retail market.

Designed by MVSA Architects
Photography by Jeroen Musch


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