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Elle Decor Italia

10 great stores opened in 2017

Flagship stores, small shops, malls, workshops: our top selection for 2018

Courtesy photo: Shao Feng

2017 is now over, so it is time to make a selection of the 10 best retail stores that saw the light in 2017: picked straight form any corner of the world, tested first-hand, and ranging from massive flagship showrooms to small shops, or from single franchises to shopping malls. Our keen interest in specific brands, settings and concepts has been the major criteria to draft this list of 10 retail excellences, no matter if pop-up stores or more experimental concept street stores. After all, shops, as well as restaurants, hotels, houses and streets, belong to our every day life and create the background in which we move and make daily experiences; so we shall thank human creativity, whether expressed by managers, artists or designers, for turning such landmarks of consumerism into actual oases of beauty deserving admiration and curiosity. Well, enough talking, here’s the 10 best retail shops inaugurated in the past year.

At times dominated by e-commerce, JOOOS Fitting Room is a new shopping experience featured in Tmall in Hangzou, China (cover photo). A truly unconventional outpost of fashion seen as a 100% cultural and physical reality. Designed by Li Xiang of studio X+Living, the space unfolds into 4 thematic areas fragmented by multiple diagonal steel pipes and aimed to tell the evolution history of clothes as an emotionalised development chronology of human civilisation. The four resulting environments are defined by, respectively: a play of chromatic contrasts (Fashionable Girl Collection), milky white textured walls and white flooring (Mori Girl Area), delicate golden cages (Celebrity Collection Area), and dark grey floor with concrete art paint walls (OL Collection Area).

A work by Tokujin Yoshioka, the new Hills Avenue Flagship Store in Tokyo showcases a revolutionary way of displaying shoes. Indeed, the latter are featured in a site-specific installation called White Forest, seemingly floating in mid-air and expressing the lightness of the brand’s latest shoe technology. Made of 700 ultra-thin white steel rods echoing a dense forest, the setting also includes 500 randomly placed disks on which shoes lie mysteriously suspended. 

Courtesy photo: Dolce & Gabbana

The newest Dolce&Gabbana boutique store in Palazzo Torres, Venice, was delivered by American architect Eric Carlson, founder of Paris-Based studio Carbondale: being “by offering both an homage and a contemporary perspective on Venice’s century-old artisanal traditions”, the space located at a stone’s throw away from Piazza San Marco is quite more than a mere, still majestic, store: this rich and intense plot is in fact recounted through 24t gold glass mosaics, marbled Venetian stucco, Murano glass chandeliers, terrazzo flooring and much more. Definitely a D&G thing.

Courtesy photo: Max Zambelli

The latest project by businesswoman and designer Alessandra Marine is surely a not-to-be-missed affair: Fondaco Roma, Rome’s first ever concert street shop, is a house/warehouse open to both locals and tourists for staying, eating, drinking and do shopping. As the Maritime Republics of the Mediterranean Basin once taught us, the fondaco is a multifunctional structure: in such case, the space unravels through a length of 200 steps on via della Frezza and leads to numerous shops within a utterly unique shopping experience. The eternal city now shines of new life.

Courtesy photo: Alberto Strada

Storage Associati has designed Italian hair stylist Davide Diodovich’s new atelier in Milan: stretching over a 300 square-metre area at the main floor of an early 20th-century’s townhouse whose entrance bears the sign of a young Piero Portaluppi, this home-atelier drastically shakes up the traditional notion of beauty salon. 

Located on via Montenapoleone, in the beating heart of the Quadrilatero della Moda, the first Italian flagship store of New York-based brand COACH has recently opened its gates: a feast of all-American and industrial style, the space is enriched with a few hints of contemporary luxury. This is a shared project by Fevers and interior designer William Scofield.

Courtesy photo: Robin Hill

All the way from Milan to Miami: on the occasion of Art Basel Miami Beach 2017, a fresh new Prada concept store has just landed to Miami Design District. A two-storey boutique sized 650 square metres, the space is openly inspired both to the capital’ Tropical Deco aesthetics and XX-century’s glorious Brazilian design. Its intentionally homey yet innovative atmosphere radiates from a one-of-a-kind furniture selection designed by Brazil’s most illustrious designers and architects who operated in the mid-1950s: Joaquim Tenreiro leads them all.

As a sign of encouragement, good wishes and admiration for the slightly decaying Italian capital, we are going to include the new annex Rinascente on via del Tritone, Rome, in our keenly selected list. Already a landmark for high-end shopping and international tourism, the stunningly charming 11th department store owned by Rinascente is also a celebration of the brand’s 150th anniversary. Inside, you will find the Aqua Virgo aqueduct inaugurated by Augustus in 19 BC and an ancient palace.

Courtesy photo: Kuomin Lee

MOLECURE Pharmacy in Taiwan by studio Waterfrom Design is a proof of the radically evolving feel and taste of pharmacies, nowadays more of healthcare hubs and less of retail shops providing prescription drugs. The symbolic tree trunk, together with a curvy copper corkscrew staircase echoing DNA double spiral structure in molecular biology, were especially conceived to create a “green lab” able to redefine the value of human health.

Courtesy photo: Takumi Ota

Gigi-Verde flower atelier in Kobe, Japan, is designed by Sohei Arao of Osaka-based firm Sides Core. The more traditional Japanese florist shop turns here into a modern space for cutting-edge floral arrangements. Minimalism and industrial style are the names of the game, and unfold round one central element – a black-painted arc – that towers above concrete panels and rough concrete flooring. 




by Roberto Fiandaca / 11 January 2018


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