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Ilana Kohn Shop
New York, NY
Kalos Eidos worked with designer Ilana Kohn to install her eponymous clothing brand into its first retail shop space in the Lower East Side neighborhood of New York. Keying off signature features of the clothing line - clean and classic styles, with subtle but striking silhouettes, and a mix of bold colors and unique graphic prints - the space aims to echo the approachability, playfulness and sense of confident ease embodied by the garments, as well as to create an environment in which to nurture the brand’s practice of supporting and collaborating with like-minded makers, designers and artisans.
Once an artists’ studio and gallery, the unusually long and narrow space was reworked to incorporate a series of contiguous zones for shopping and trying on as well as for regular events and pop-ups in the space featuring complementary goods by other designer friends, artists and collaborators. Building on both the historic nature of the space and the ethos of the Ilana Kohn brand, the shop is intended to reflect the simplicity and open canvas of an art gallery and feel like a direct extension of the brand’s active design studio occupying the the level just above the shop. Pure white walls and original tin ceilings reinforced the art studio feel, letting the shape and color of the products pop into the foreground, while the addition of new graphic tiles, high-gloss painted floors, and boldly shaped contours echo the aesthetic identity of the brand.
Rather than separate the space into distinct rooms, the design aims to accentuate its length through a series of curved partial archways threaded together by an emphatic, single hanging display rack that runs the length of the shop and anchors the space along its primary wall. This main visual line is capped by a full height mirror that reflects back the entire space, exaggerating the sense of expansiveness but also helping to keep the two ends of the space feel connected as one. The shape of the opposite wall was adjusted to jog in and out around an interior staircase linking storage and studio space above and below, tucking it out of view and streamlining the circulation path. A tiered display platform runs along this side, stepping up and down to create a staggered series of surfaces featuring a curated selection of products and accessories. This continuous element hugs tightly to the wall where the floor area needs to stay clear, then shifts out away from the wall to integrate a cash wrap and accommodate access to back-of-house spaces.
The resulting floor plan breaks down into several segments but with a continuous flow of movement and sightline linking them together. An extended entry zone is set up to feel like a walk-through display window, mixing floor displays with plants atop a bold graphic black and white mosaic floor. The main shopping area has a wider area at the front and cinches in to accommodate a narrow zone in the middle of the space. The rear area of the store incorporates two private dressing rooms tucked out of view that open up to a lounge space in view from the main axis of the shop. Elevated up on a slightly higher floor level with the backdrop of the large mirrored wall, a lounge and try-on area stays active and social, like a small stage for showcasing the clothes live on shoppers.
The design also envisioned the possibility of future evolution and to accommodate the need for more display and storage area, with vertical layers able to be stacked at the wall above the main clothing rack. Movable/reconfigurable platforms were also explored to allow more variation for the tiered display elements to extend into the front area space for special events. The design also anticipated the opportunity for changeable finish inserts to sleeve into and out the tiered display platforms so as to introduce variation in texture and color in parallel with the changing graphic motifs or textiles to be used in new seasons of the clothing line.
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