A Traveling Experiment in Retail
What does retail have to offer in the digital age? We're trying to find out through an ambitious experiment. Renowned architects Pierre Jorge Gonzalez and Judith Haase have transformed a freight container into a walk-in space that is scheduled go on tour to selected retail stores in the world's most beautiful cities in the coming months. Wherever it goes it will be presented like a blank space for local artistic and other creative talent to recreate it; the store owners will curate the product selection. Like this, the Box will be a temporary urban space that encourages creative communication between artists, retailers and customers.
"It's true, you need the courage to open up and get away from the mainstream. There's definitely nothing mainstream about the Box, there's no space in there for that. Space for everything else, yes, but not for mainstream."
Oliver Reichert, CEO Birkenstock
The first stop on the tour is Andreas Murkudis' Concept Store in Berlin. It was Murkudis who curated the first selection for the Box, which includes limited edition Arizona styles designed specifically with this project in mind.
First Destination: Berlin
"Good design is a gut feeling."
His stores transformed fashion into art and space into an adventure – Andreas Murkudis is Berlin's curator of beautiful things. Several stores have been trading under his name since the first was opened in 2003 in a courtyard on Münzstrasse, in Berlin's Mitte district, and another followed in Potsdamer Strasse in 2011. Now they have been brought together under the roof of the former printworks of the Tagesspiegel newspaper, a space of 1,000 m2 where he is selling his personally curated selection of established brands and fledgling, ambitious design products. There's no street sign outside to hint at the treasures to be discovered tucked away in the courtyard, but that doesn't matter. The customers find them anyway. Perhaps one reason is that Murkudis is one of the few store owners whose choice of products is guided not only by an instinct for good design but also by his heart.
Gonzalez Haase AAS Architects
It was Andreas Murkudis who, back in 2004, recognized that Berlin architects Pierre Jorge Gonzalez and Judith Haase had a talent for displaying fashion like art. Since then the Gonzalez-Haase team has been designing not only the city's most prestigious artistic spaces but also its most exciting fashion stores. Gonzalez, a French stage designer, and Haase, an architect from Bremen, got to know each other when working together on theatre director Robert Wilson's Watermill Center in New York. Discovering a shared passion for "naked spaces," they founded their own architecture firm in 1999. Whether they're working on a restaurant, a gallery or a fashion store, the signature feature is always their courage to leave spaces empty. Instead of filling space to the limit, they lay surfaces bare and use light as a subtle design element. Pure spaces that have room to breathe.
"Only when the idea behind a space has been eliminated can something of lasting merit emerge."