What the future holds for brick-and-mortar retail has been in question since e-commerce first took off, but it hasn't died the sudden death that so many predicted. In fact, it's taken on a new lease of life, and adidas newly reopened Originals flagship in Berlin shows exactly what that should look like.
Much more than just a place to shop, the store is a space for people to interact with the brand, discover artists from the city’s creative scene, and mingle with the local sneaker community. A giant 3D-printed torsion bar by Monja Gentschow stands in the window and displayed in glass cases throughout the store are selected sneakers from Sneaker Queen's archive, which artists Sebastian Haslauer has made into one-off ceramics. In one corner, imagery from a photoshoot by Madwomen Collective, and in front of it a ping-pong table (temporarily out of action due to Covid-19) where visitors are invited to hang out.
The design concept, which adidas calls “THE COLLECTION”, is based on a pop-up showroom that was erected in a disused carpark during Paris Fashion Week years prior and takes inspiration from the archive. “We didn't start thinking about the store,” explains Nic Galway, adidas Originals’ design director, in the virtual opening ceremony. “We thought about spaces and how we would communicate the brand. We thought about what do people love about the trefoil? Whoever comes to visit us wants to see the archive. The archive is where the collective memory of the brand lives, it's where all of our stories of culture come from. We really wanted to capture that.”
Sustainability was also a key consideration for the redesign. “We really wanted to build it into the approach. Number one – what’s the space already got? [...] When we add things in, let's do it to the bare minimum and with the minimum of impact. And then when we create things, the first thing we say is do we need to create it? Why build something new when there’s so much rich history. Let’s reclaim, let's bring that into the store,” continues Galway. Where possible, vintage furniture has been used including a bench used at the 1972 Munich Olympics, the floors in the rear room are repurposed from a former gym hall, and there is a permanent sustainability space that explains adidas’ ongoing initiative to fight plastic waste.
The redesign of the Berlin store is especially poignant as it was the brand’s first-ever Originals flagship. Opened in 2001, for almost 20 years it been a pillar in the city’s fast-growing sneaker scene, and has been the backdrop to so many of the brand’s major milestones – the first Yeezy drop, early Pharrell collaborations, and the monumental relaunch of the Stan Smith to name just a few. Today, it continues to house its most sought-after products including the just-released Ivy Park collection, the Human Race basics range, Yeezy, and the A-ZX drops.
Visit adidas Originals' Berlin flagship at Münzstraße 13-15, 10178 Berlin and stay up-to-date with the latest happenings, here.