Karim Rashid, perhaps the most famous pink-suited industrial designer alive, has unveiled his designs for the third location of the sex shop Fun Factory, this one in Munich. Filled with gold mannequins in flimsy lingerie, bondage gear, and amoeba-shaped counters covered in hot pink dildos, the space is meant to look “more sophisticated, more mature, and almost less fun” than typical sex shops, Rashid tells Co.Design.
Brick-and-mortar sex shops face competition from online retailers, which often offer lower price points and eliminate the awkwardness of shopping for vibrators and butt plugs. To stay competitive, sex shops need to offer something a website can’t. Fun Factory thinks taking cues from the luxury sector, with an artfully designed space, is the key.
In designing the shop, located in a two-story 1950s building, Rashid focused on the “notion that we as human beings are completely organic and asymmetrical,” he says. “Our physical built environments”–with their hard angles, symmetry, and straight lines–“are often opposed to us, in contradiction of nature’s fluidity. I wanted to do the opposite, to communicate sex and sensuality throughout the space.” To do this, Rashid filled the space with soft, flowing curves: in the structure of the countertops and the painted gold blobs on the walls. Rashid says all the curves are meant to echo those of the female form. Wiggly white lines cover the black floors, which he made by tracing people’s walking patterns around the store.
The aesthetic is meant to destigmatize sex shops, long considered the kind of “dark, frightening place where old men hung around outside,” Rashid says. Fun Factory is far from the first company to do this–companies like Good Vibrations and Babeland, for example, made sex shops just another yuppie-mom errand destination with their friendly pink facades–but Rashid says he wanted the Munich store to seem “more upscale” than a place like Babeland. “Almost like a Gucci or Prada store,” he says. “There’s no sex in your face.” Still, no one under 18 is allowed to enter the store.