It has become an emerging trend that large brands commission world renowned designers and architects to design their stores. First, a series of McDonald’s restaurants were designed by Patrick Norguet, a high end product designer, and then Burger King Asia-Pacific followed with their “Garden Grill” concept developed by Outofstock design studio. Several moths ago, Vertu, the luxury mobile phones manufacturer, asked Beijing based architectural firm MAD architects to design a travelling pavilion for them.
The latest in the row were Starbucks Japan, who commissioned world renowned Japanese architect Kengo Kuma to envision and bring to life the space of a retail store in Dazaifu, Fukuoka Prefecture. The store’s exact location is in an old surroundings of an Shinto shrine – a spatial structure whose main purpose is to house (“enshrine”) one or more Shinto kami (Shinto spirits). The shop floor area is approximately 160 m2, and can accommodate 45 people.
The shop is, according to Kuma “fusion of the traditional and contemporary and made up of natural materials both traditional and modern.” The design of the interior is meant to resemble the natural surroundings of Shinto shrine and its parks. The entrance vestibule is formed as an inner garden decorated with planted plum trees, and can accommodate up to 10 people.
Brands’ retail stores are like any of their products’ packages – they should reflect the brands’ visions and philosophies. So just like making a product package in collaboration with a world renowned designer or artist every now and then, brands should commission world-renowned architects to design their retail stores as well. Although it would cost more, brands would get a decent space to sell their products in, and the stores’ popularity would grow with the fact that they have been designed by experts recognized world wide.