Retro-Futurism in London, Brixton
Teeming with intricate detailing and architectural statements, the new BSTN phygital store rooted the premium fashion brand in its new Brixton neighbourhood, whilst laying down a marker in London’s competitive streetwear scene.
BSTN’s bold choice to avoid more conventional locations to set up shop in Brixton, required a similarly striking concept, with the aim of making the store a destination for consumers throughout Greater London. Working alongside Dusan Cvetkovic, BSTN’s visionary creative director, Sunst set about designing a space that existed in multiple stylistic scenarios, managing to look futuristic and minimalist whilst evoking a feeling of classic vintage. This otherworldly experience was intensified by the material dialogues at play: smooth monolithic surfaces of stainless-steel vs rough terralin wallcoverings: intricate detailing (bronze) vs expansive spatial design: sharp sanded concrete vs the ambassadorial warmth of its wooden interiors.
The primary retail area downstairs was a dynamic mix of monolithic brushed steel surfaces with warm wood interiors. At its centrepiece was an enormous, three-and-a-half-ton stainless steel staircase that carried visitors into the newly opened space on the floor above. The bare concrete and metal finishing of the front area was given a dramatic alteration with an oiled oak wood recess at the back of the store. Designed to look as though it had been slotted in whole, this warm, inviting area gave a marked change of atmosphere that was enhanced by the wall of seamless screens, capable of transforming the space into an immersive multimedia digital art and motion content experience.
On the first floor, the so-called “B-Hive” – named after a neighbouring road – adaptable elements enabled a diverse range of community orientated events to take place. All non-mounted wall features were easily repositionable and custom-made modular furniture systems were combined with a futuristic framework made from aluminium profiles. Lined with a layer of fine-timbered wood, this multipurpose foundation was ideal for installations and community gatherings.
Furniture / Detailing
Custom made furniture pieces designed by Sunst brought a bespoke character to the 360 sqm store. Glazed vintage tiles from Germany – reminiscent of Italian metro tiles from the 70s – lined the top surface of the presenter tables and brought a relaxed lounge vibe to the interior. BSTN is rooted in 90s hip hop and basketball heritage and legacy detailing like basketball-inspired hand engraved bronze plaques, were sunk seamlessly into the cement floor.
The decision was made to expose the curved serrated aluminium roof (long hidden during the space’s former use as a bank) and turn it in to an impressive visual feature. To maintain at least 80 per cent visibility, multiple stretches of 8-metre-long transparent LED screens were mounted along it. The sheer scale and capabilities of the LED technology enabled staff to significantly alter the mood and tone on the second floor with the simple touch of a button.
To embed BSTN in Brixton culture, and to celebrate the links between the premium store and its new neighbourhood, the motion design department created a series of integrated visuals and moving typographic content. Above all the work was kept accessible and inclusive by putting an emphasis on the importance of sport to the area – Michael Jordan visited the nearby Recreation Centre in 1985 – and focusing on local South Londoners.
Numerous visual nods to the area’s urban character were made through signature styling and pop colours drawn from the neighbourhood. Thanks to fine detailing and intricate material finishing, this one-of-a-kind retail and project space managed to both stand out and effortlessly blend into its new Brixton location.
All pictures © Alex Upton