In April, iconic footwear brand Dr. Martens opened a new experiential store in what it calls its spiritual home of Camden, London. The Grade II listed, 19th century building was originally used as a tack room for horses making it a natural fit for the brand's own retail concept, which consists of an industrial, stripped down environment.
Trading across two floors, the 370 sq m store houses the full Dr. Martens range across men's, women's and kid's, as well as an extensive range of industrial product which sits at the heart of the brand.
By opening a store in Camden Market, it allows Dr. Martens to have a conversation with both our local and international fans against the backdrop of the alternative and vibrant community of Camden,' says a spokesperson for the brand. 'It also positions the brand in its rightful home - an area steeped in authenticity and musical heritage.'
Having worked with Closed Sundays on its Oxford Street flagship, Dr. Martens once again approached the design consultancy to deliver its latest statement for the brand at retail.. The brief was to create a space that epitomises Dr. Martens' musical roots, while being sympathetic to the Grade II listed building. It also had to capture the rich history of authentic product from the archives and accommodate live music.
'The idea came in the form of bespoke flight cases,' says Chris Clewes, founder and director of Closed Sundays. 'These would act as the anchor to the room and were a great way of ensuring the precious archive items could be displayed with Dr. Martens' attitude. It also gave the humble flight case a chance to be something other than utilitarian.'
The flight cases incorporate bespoke steel frames to further expand the story behind the product and to give it context. Imagery and copy are stitched together using real guitar and amp leads, and each area also houses a listening station that delivers tailored content.
The experiential space sits alongside the main retail floor and features a permanent stage and backline, supported by Marshall Amps and Natal Drums. The store will offer a full programme of music throughout the year, in collaboration with online radio specialist, Mixcloud, as well as a virtual reality experience, powered by Oculus, which will allow fans to tour the brand's original UK factory in Northamptonshire.
Other focal points include a 'GIF booth' for consumers to engage with, a designated area for artists and fans to personalise their favourite DM's (old and new), and a specially commissioned one-off piece of art from Specials bass player, Horace Panter, who has interpreted the brand's deep rooted link to youth subculture through his own unique take on Camden.
'Dr. Martens has a long-standing relationship with music and the creative communities, so having an area which fans can access and use to showcase their talent will be a really positive thing - especially to London's music venue scene which is under ever-increasing pressure of closure,' adds the spokesperson for Dr. Martens. 'We very much see this exciting new store becoming a cultural hub for the brand, its fans and Camden.'
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