With their new premium multibrand shop for clothing brand Coef, Carbon Studio and Kuub used the potentials of the location and the new program to the max in order to create a special shop experience. They applied subtle combinations of unusual materials, texture, colour and shape. There is a clear contrast between the historical building and the new intervention and the two are well balanced: the authentic, familiar versus the friendly contemporary, spectacular.
The Coef shop is located in Drakenborch at the Oudegracht 114 in Utrecht. Built in the 12th century, this urban castle is the oldest residence of the Netherlands and a national monument.
As the building is a monument, walls and ceilings remained unrevised. The skew walls however, were dysfunctional. Thus, the designers made a drastic decision: the whole shop had to emerge from the floor.
Erecting from the floor up also formed the base for the circular design: the shop could be easily dissembled. All applied materials have a low environmental impact and are easy to recycle: untreated metal, recycled leather and marmoleum.
The recurring visual and functional elements are circles and spheres, which refers to the original beam paintwork.
All functional elements like installation techniques, the electrical system and the constructive base are implemented in the floor. The marmoleum floor has a black steel grid carpet and this explicit floor forms the aesthetic base for the shop interior. The circular shapes literally soften the steel system. The modular furniture elements are plugged into the floor.
Zones without grid carpet mark the main route and guide visitors to various spaces.
The principal space is a varied landscape with street lamps and four meter high furniture pieces in harmony with the architecture. A five meter high sneakerwall – materialised as an inversion of the floor – marks the staircase to the souterrain and leads visitors to the basement vaults.
The master lounge is an intense space with a special floor, fireplace, murals and roof construction. The middle counter has a mirrored top, reflecting the ceiling and murals. The murals narrate a Romeo and Juliet-like story about the dispute between two reigning families, Van Drackenborch and Van Oudaen, who dominated both sides of the Oudegracht in the 12th century.
In the dark and low basement, vaults, mirrors, glass, white tiles and light lines give a spatial effect. Arching lights accentuate the vault shape and the central island. In this space the colours stay raw, in line with the street wear collection that is exposed here. The display island contains various glass layers and mirrors for a transparent and kaleidoscopic product presentation.
Images © Maarten Willemstein