Retail is now as much about the setting as it is the designs and products on the shelves, if not more so. Taking a holistic mentality, the interiors reflect the clothes and vice versa, providing a ‘lifestyle’ experience for costumers. With interior design proving to influence those who enter the space to feel a certain way, it is no wonder that designers have clicked onto the influence they are able to wield through specified fitouts.
In the case of architectural duo Sandor Gocsei + Enriko Korompay’s Capsula Multi Brand store, the space melds so beautifully with the products, it itself becomes a selling point. Stylistic bias removed, the Hungarian store can be labeled as nothing short of beautiful.
It is a space of contrasts. Black floors so lacquered your reflection can be seen, and white walls so stark they give off a disarming institutional air.
The juxtaposition of curved walls, bold masculine pillars and central claw-like light fitting creates a feeling of luxurious androgyny that alienates as much as it entices.
The clothing and accessories sit in the walls, as though they are a part of the architecture, all black and sparingly white with the most beautiful featured pop of red in the form of a single, central cherry red cocktail dress.
The lighting glows out from the built in wall units in pops of bright white light, which in any other space would appear garish, but in relation to the black polished surrounds inspires a hushed energy.
The fitout offers a very cleverly designed influential space. This is not a new concept. Most retail spaces follow to some extent the Gruen Transfer theory, in which consumer spending habits are increased by the creation of scripted disorientation. While Capsula definitely offers more elegance than overt disorientation, it would be so easy for patrons entering the store to be lost in the romanticism of the entire atmosphere losing a sense of reality and be more likely to spend excessively.
This extends down to even the change rooms, with their low ceilings and padded walls they create a safe haven, and while offering a positive experience, could become claustrophobic, emphasising the allure of the shop floor and allowing it to beckon.
As designers come to understand the full power of lighting and colour in creating a mood and influencing those who enter the space, retail spaces will no longer be designed purely for function, but for feeling. This space is a prime example of that design ideology, and is a stunning example of the intermingling of design in any medium.
Images tamas bujnovszky