March 6th, 2013 – When it comes to online indie shoe shops, Solestruck is the spot to find something unique for your feet. The quirky company was looking explore the outernets when they decided to set up shop in their first brick and mortar store. On their search for a design team, it seemed fitting that they bring one of Portland’s most creative and respected design firms, Skylab Architecture, to outfit the new space. Jeff Kovel, principal architect at Skylab, and his team transformed a rustic space, in the upcoming West End neighborhood of Portland, into a glamorous shop.
Something worth noting, the store is actually located in an adaptive reuse building called Blackbox, here Solestruck is one of six micro-retail storefronts. The idea of micro-retail storefronts is becoming more prevalent as eco-minded designers, architects, and entrepreneurs, are developing new solutions to use existing spaces. Take a peek at Boxpark in London to see another example of micro-retail spots.
The shop is defined by swaths of light displaying a curated runway of interesting shoes. To allow the exhibit of shoes to visually ‘pop’, the architects created a mostly dark space with black concrete floors, dark textured walls and brake-form metal shelves that fade away. The existing columnar structure was transformed into the central cabinet that features notched seating as well space for storage and display.
The back of house makes use of materials like cork and exposed brick, creating a warm and expressive contrast to the dramatic display zone. Drawing on a wine cellar concept, the backstock is exposed as a collection, made visible to the public through a floor to ceiling glass wall. The backstock shelving and hanging bars are removable to adjust to merchandising requirements for Solestruck’s clothing company collaborations.
For Solestruck, versatility of the space was necessary, because of this demand, the architects made it easy for the shoe store to convert into a functional event space.
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