The avant-garde Japanese fashion label Comme des Garçons has opened a new shop in Tokyo that commits what might seem like a fatal error in retail strategy: The shop is better eye candy than the clothes on the rack.
To this we owe Coudamy Design. The Paris-based studio was tapped to offset the shop’s neutral, vaguely antiseptic, aesthetic with “a wild and invasive sculpture” that channels a “new version of a wooden cave,” the designers say.
So they planted two giant trees sculptures smack dab in the middle of the shop (because nothing says “cave” like trees?). Made of nearly 10,000 wooden planks, the trees sprout from the floor, then spread out along the ceiling with the furious abandon of southern kudzu.
The design unfolded spontaneously, Coudamy says: “The 9,715 planks, laid one by one from the two vertical pillars, were fixed… randomly. Without knowing where it would go and eventually end, the sculpture forms a structure which becomes wider to spread horizontally and overhang [the] space in every direction.”
Comme des Garçons is known for experimental retail design, which befits the gonzo spirit of the brand. One shop here New York is done up like a bat cave. Is it the best way to showcase clothes? Probably not. The cave is hard to find, and intimidating once you’re inside (okay, that’s not just because of the cave; it’s the bitchy clerks, too). Same goes with the tree sculpture: It has so much look, it risks taking away from the basic point of brick-and-mortar retail: to sell stuff. Then again, it gets people who wouldn’t normally shop at Comme des Garçons into the stores and--perhaps more importantly in the long run--intrigued by the brand.
[Images courtesy of Coudamy Design]