Award: Merit Award for Interior Architecture
Italian leather-good master Valextra opens its first store in sunny Hawaii located in Honolulu’s Ala Moana Center, the largest open-air shopping center in the world.
Among the 290 stores in Ala Moana Center, the majority of them are tightly sealed with glass surfaces and small entry ways dedicating the majority of shopfront surface area to window displays.
We want to break this physical threshold to heighten the open-air shopping experience through creating a series of 4 meter tall rotating floor-to-ceiling glass doors, which open up 90 degrees perpendicularly to the entrance, serving as a truly accessible and luminous entryway.
The breakdown of the retail threshold naturally welcomes and draws visitors inside the store, leading them into a 6 meter tall interior space wrapped around with a warm beach atmosphere, with a perspectival mountain playing the dual role as a very deep window display as well as the in-store display units which customers can walk through.
We introduced raw earth surfaces by the Italian craftman Matteo Brioni as a built-up of the “beaches” on the floor and in the form of modular blocks of different heights, creating a landscape that serves not only as additional display counters for Valextra’s collection but also as seating area for visitors; together with tall local floral of bright green leaves embedded on both sides of the “beach”, the intention is to bring the outside in.
A single three-dimensional ceramic block produced by Italian ceramic company Mutina were manipulated and reconfigured with a redefined custom blue color, into a progressive crescendo of three-dimensional product display mountain, which also allow visitors to transverse through.
The Valextra Honolulu boutique is not a typical store with products presented on shelves and on plinth; the design pays tribute to the beautiful archipelago, creating new retail display strategies with occupiable open-air window display unit, dramatically increasing the visual merchandizing surface are through altitude and depth.
The design is highly inspired by the Hawaiian sea and landscape, together with the architectural materiality of the traditional Italian crafts; all these elements are placed together as a celebration of the two cultures, the design emphasizes that the highly prestigious Milanese leather-goods brand is true to its roots while constantly innovating itself with the contemporary.