Levi's, obviously, is a global brand. What steps were taken to connect the new store to Amsterdam and the consumer there? Cycling plays a big role in both the current Levi's line and the lifestyle of the city of Amsterdam. Are there other connecting points?
One of the most "visible" elements of the store are the fact that we reworked junked bicycles into new display items both on the wall and on the floor of the store. Amsterdam tends to "forget" about it's old bicycles and they can be found everywhere in the city, rotting away... With some welding and ingenuity, they can be made into something else, something artistic, given new life. This is what we did...clearly the Amsterdam connection is obvious.
Further, I always saw Amsterdam as a very resourceful community. It has a strong squatters movement and also a "let's make something out of what we have" mentality and over the city you see weird constructions and bikes laced with flowers and houseboats patched together.. This is how we approached the store. Naturally, it is designed from the standpoint of retail performance and accessibility, but there was a great deal of the process that was "inspired"... The mantra between Maurizio Donadi and myself became " Do that". As in, "How about this?"... " Yeah, do that". A very spontaneous, very organic process of design and visual merchandising that has resulted in a very human, friendly, un-designed store.
Tell me a little bit about Como Park, what other projects are you engaged with and what is your connection to Levi's?
Como Park is a multidisciplinary concept and design firm that focuses on Interior Architecture in different areas. In the last two years this has been a strong proportion of retail. Amidst work in hotels and restaurants, we recently completed the design of the Levi's January 2012 Bread and Butter stand and are currently working on retail projects for Onitsuka Tiger. We are also in ongoing discussions with several global brands for projects in 2012 and 2013. In addition to these we are designing a Family / children-oriented cafĂ© concept for roll out in Benelux and the Interior updating of The Rembrandt Tower, a landmark 35 story high rise in Amsterdam.
It was our design work on the Red Wing Amsterdam store, a collaboration with Tenue de Nimes, that caught the eye of Maurizio. After several meetings, we realized that we had avery seamless way of working and that I could translate abstract and emotional concepts into concrete and buildable designs. We have worked together since 2010 on internal and external concepts and design for Levi's XX and Levi Strauss & Co.