De-construction site

Demolition-yard joinery, scaffolding and concrete blocks provide the backdrop for the products in this new boutique, where everything is a little out of the ordinary including the mannequins

View of the old construction door which is glass, white
View of the old construction door which is suspended from the ceiling and separated the Stolen Girlfriends Club display from other displays.

Keeping ahead of the game is a prerequisite for the fashion industry, which is all about leading not following. And this applies to the retail stores that stock the labels as much as the garments themselves.

For Daniel Gosling, the owner of Black Box Boutique in Grey Lynn, Auckland, creating a distinct point of difference for his store was critical the aesthetics had to reflect the originality of the fashion labels.

"Everything had to be out of the ordinary," Gosling says. "I wanted to create a store that would provide an experience, and which would be more like a gallery a place where people could come in and look and browse without feeling obliged to shop."

To create such a retail environment, Gosling took his cue from the building itself, which dates back to early last century and was originally a depot for horse-drawn milk carts. The solid concrete and masonry building had more recently been leased by a designer furniture company, which had refurbished the concrete and wood floors.

"The raw surfaces were particularly well suited to the boutique and the labels we stock," he says. "But we did repaint the interior white to freshen it up."

View of clothing displays at the Black Box boutique, fashion, outerwear, white
View of clothing displays at the Black Box Boutique and a skeleton which is used as a mannequin.

With this backdrop, Gosling then introduced an eclectic mix of props and accessories to further define the store's identity. A counter near the entrance, for example, is made from stacked concrete blocks, which can be rearranged to create a new display as required.

"The fashion industry thrives on change, so flexibility in terms of the layout was essential," he says.

Different areas within the store are separated by a variety of novel dividers. The men's and women's clothing is separated by a large looped rope originally made for a super yacht. And the Stolen Girlfriends Club fashion label is contained within a space defined by suspended demolition joinery.

"Although there are no walls around this area, the windows and stand-alone door define this space as a store within a store," says Gosling.

Similarly, men's fashion is displayed on a rack that sits beneath an Insight concept oversized table. Other items are displayed on adjacent shelves that appear to be rungs on a giant wooden chair.

Interior view of the clothing displays at the furniture, white
Interior view of the clothing displays at the Black Box Boutique which features a counter which was made with moveable concrete blocks.

Metal scaffolding, in keeping with the construction site imagery, was also introduced to hang clothes and accessories on side walls. The floor directly beneath the scaffolding features a white perspex light box with fluorescent lighting, which illuminates the products from below.

Other products hang from steel chains and clothes are even displayed on a drum kit in one corner of the store. Gosling also designed four upright cabinets to display homewares.

And in place of the usual mannequins, there are skeletons, which Gosling says is a concept that takes the notion of thin fashion models to its extreme.

"Again, this was about creating a point of difference and thinking outside the square," he says.

To provide even greater flexibility in terms of the space, shuttered doors were installed to screen an office at the rear of the building. These doors can be opened up to create one large area for fashion launches and special events.

Credit list

Daniel Gosling
Timber bench seat
Designed by Daniel Gosling built by Sam Lennon
Graphic designer
Ian Ferguson, Friends of Design
Polished concrete; timber

Story by: Colleen Hawkes

08 Jul, 2009

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