Sneakerology: How street culture meets trendy design

In a shopping centre, such as the Sydney CBD’s Westfield, which contains almost any store and any brand that you could ever imagine, it is difficult to create something new that will stand out. Facet Studio rose to the challenge this past June when they designed Sneakerology and its brother Streetology. The striking impact of the project’s design is that it looks like an urban museum, where the only star is the Sneakers.

The shop is a multibrand store where the focus on the product is carried to excess. Rather than mimicking the design of typical stores where products are tightly packed into a small area, Facet Studio chose a look of simplicity invoking the feeling of standing in a museum.

The touch panel located in the centre of the store contains a complete catalogue of all of the products. Its purpose is to help the average shopper gain further understanding of the background stories of the merchandise and guide them in their shopping experience through a simple system of number codes that become part of the project concept. The most eye-catching detail of the store is the shop windows where 281 small boxes (200 mm x 600 mm) are repeated and offset by half a unit on each level. Displayed in every box is a different sneaker design, carefully catalogued with a number placed side by side each shoe.

The display rack of shoes works as a wall to define the space of the inside and outside. At the same time, its transparency makes it very permeable and allows for a continual visually perceptive relation with the inside. The strategy to repeat this pattern for the entire window creates a game where the only protagonist is the shoe. The systematic repetition of standardised units on the one hand can be read as the image of the actual business marketing strategy. On the other hand, the pattern works to enhance and emphasise the originality of each individual piece.

The store of 55 sq m is divided into two rooms. One is for T-shirts and accessories and the other is for shoes. Just some elements defining the space are the display rack and the two touch panels. The colour and the design of the shoes is brought out by the use of clear wood for the shelves and of the plexiglass box that contain a light source.

The design of the project was inspired by the architects’ Japanese origin and education in this field. Facet Studio blended the use of easy and neat geometric shapes, basic materials, such as wood, and the smart use of the light to create a bold and unique shop space. The combination of Japanese and street culture created a flawless mix. The two architects Yoshishito Kashiwagi and Olivia Shih founded Facet Studio in 2007. Their design of Sneakerology won them an Interior Design Excellence Award (IDEA) 2011 in the Retail category decreed on 25th November in Melbourne.

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