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Saturday, August 19, 2017

5 of the Most Beautiful Retail Stores in the World

Contemporary architectural trends throughout disparate sectors have for some time been converging. As our manufacturing capabilities and the underlying technology have become more sophisticated, architects are no longer torn between style and function and both can be considered simultaneously. Not only does this allow us a much greater degree of freedom when contemplating the aesthetics of a building, but now that we can engineer materials to fulfill very specific functions, it is possible to create structures that appear to be designed with aesthetics as the primary focus when in fact the materials are carefully engineered in order to ensure functionality is preserved.


Retail stores and shopping malls are increasingly becoming the platform upon which architects demonstrate their prowess. Retail buildings by their nature lend themselves well to eye-catching and unique designs. In fact, a well-designed retail store will draw passers-by eyes to it and this in itself is like a form of free advertising for the business within. Below are five of the most beautifully designed retail outlets in the world.

Thom Browne Aoyama Flagship Store, Tokyo
Thom Browne is a relative newcomer to the world of fashion, but his eponymous label has achieved an unprecedented level of success. His flagship store in the Aoyama district of Tokyo is a beautiful example of post-modern architecture on the outside while the interior embraces a minimalist style that complements Browne’s fashion aesthetics.

Dior’s Seoul Mega-Store
Peter Marino is a luxury designer who has built his reputation designing flagship stores for a number of luxury brands, from Chanel to Louis Vuitton, and his buildings stand in many of the world’s major cities: London, Paris, Rome, Hong Kong, and now Seoul, all play host to his eye-catching designs.

The Dior mega-store in Seoul has been designed with the Dior brand at the forefront of Marino’s mind. The interior features an eclectic variety of sculptures, shapes, and textures, which come together to create a truly unique interior that straddles the line between an art gallery and a retail outlet.

Selexyz Bookstore, Maastricht
This beautiful bookstore sits inside a former church and incorporates the original Gothic architecture, placing it alongside pitch-black bookshop furniture. There are numerous contrasts between the two styles. For example, the church features many curved edges and round pillars whereas the bookstore furniture consists of straight lines and hard edges.

Plural Bookshop, Bratislava
This Slovakian bookshop was designed to address the concerns surrounding the growing trend of placing cafes within bookstores. Many book lovers have expressed dismay at the notion of cafes encroaching on precious bookselling space. The Plural Bookshop embraces a simple, minimalist design which features bookshelves that stretch across the full length of the store's long walls while very large steps are used to break up the space and give the building a distinctive feel.

MenScience Flagship Store, New York
MenScience is a New York based firm that sells skincare and nutritional products. Their flagship store features hard edge, reflective surfaces and juxtaposes the bright packaging of its products with jet black, marble-textured shelves. While modest in size, the striking interior is still enticing and care has been taken to use mostly locally sourced, recycled wood for construction.

As major cities around the world look to improve the aesthetics of their skylines and the experience of street-level shopping, it is unsurprising that an increasing amount of attention is being paid to ensuring that retail stores add to, rather than subtract from, the overall look and feel of the city.

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