Shoebaloo, Koningsplein Interior
High-end fashion retailers Shoebaloo enlisted MVSA architects to modify their display in their Koningsplein branch. The googly layers of plastic undulate within the shop floor, hiding and revealing certain products as you walk through the store. The concept was meant to be a unique one to “suite the brand”, and the aim of the revamp was to invite people into the store. This type of aesthetic is hardly unique, and despite its “futuristic” label, it is quite an old fashioned perspective of the future, while also being somewhat expected form a design aiming to be different.
The materials themselves may be the most innovative, with use of LED lights, Hi-Macs (shelving) and acrylic stone. The display imitates the works of Zaha Hadid Architects and crams what is reminiscent of Googie Architecture within the shop confines. It looks more like an old American dive than futuristic innovation, with marble floor tiles emerging from beneath the Styrofoam-looking shelves.
The shelves are almost dynamic enough to hide the ok-looking shoes displayed on top of them, but the excess lighting grapples for attention against this busy atmosphere, while the products themselves stand and wait for their own time to shine.
The space in general looks so uncontaminated, and sterile that it evokes unwanted memories surgical wards. The products appear incubated, either kept from a long time ago or being kept for maybe even a lifetime. The shop interior reminds me of sci-fi space ships, with its colour (or lack thereof), the texture of material and the air of selectness within its enclosure, and its escapist atmosphere.
For a display that’s trying to sell (mostly) shoes, it seems like the shoes displayed aren’t ever meant to leave the store, and the only people who would feel comfortable shopping there are the most valued customers of Shoebaloo stores everywhere else, who are already familiar with the brand’s products. The only reason I would walk into this shop is if I was looking for a specific product, and my research led me to this sole branch of Shoebaloo.
by Thelma Ndebele