Magnificent seven: concept stores

This refreshed approach to bricks-and-mortar retail offers consumers an original take on the shopping experience

Leclaireur, Paris, France

On arrival at Leclaireur, visitors are greeted by a two-tonne structure made up of wooden planks, 147 video screens and moving walls that cause the collections of menswear and womenswear to repeatedly disappear and reappear, blurring the lines between illusion and reality.

As the boundaries between fashion designers, glassmakers and jewellers are broken down, the work of highly specialised avant-garde creators seduce and surprise.

Kicking back against the derivative, the world’s most divergent artists and designers are brought together to delight customers.

When art, technology and design merge in such dazzling style, it becomes difficult to refute the claim of its designer, Belgian artist Arne Quinze, that “this is not a store, it is an experience”.

In a word: Wondrous

Leclaireur is where the world's most divergent designers and artists are brought together

Clube Chocolate, São Paulo, Brazil

This store’s aesthetic priorities are expressed in its light-seeking qualities: half of it was hollowed out and opened to the elements so the retail experience could be complemented by natural light.

A spiral staircase encased in brushed steel leads you up to the multi-brand concept store or takes you underground, where an organic juice bar and restaurant overlook an in-house beach. The basement micro-garden is full of sand and palm trees – a slice of Rio de Janeiro, the store’s city of origin.

Its contents are on par with other international fashion galleries, yet the venue is imbued with a laid-back vibe, the feeling of a club whose only requirements for membership is you relax and enjoy where you are.

In a word: Luminous

Urbanist, Dubai, UAE

In one of the shipping containers in Boxpark, Dubai’s buzzing retail district, is a concept store that houses some of the most sought-after brands in the UAE.

The Urbanist store is home to colourful clothing and merchandise that seeks to fuse contemporary taste with more traditional styles. The store prides itself on stocking designers that inject an edgy urban flavour into Middle Eastern styles, reinventing the traditional garments
 of the region with vibrant choices in pattern,
 cut and colour.

The products and overarching aesthetic
 serve to create a truly singular retail space and an amalgam of tradition and innovation that perfectly mirrors the dynamic and ever-changing city in which it lives.

In a word: Metropolitan

Urbanist 2
Urbanist perfectly mirrors the dynamic and ever-changing city in which it lives

Secret Location, Vancouver, Canada

More than just a retail and commercial space, this store sees itself as a influential cultural museum.

Offering thought- provoking and limited-run pieces, Canada’s first multi-brand concept store is a space that celebrates ingenuity and quality craftsmanship across all product lines.

Presenting an eclectic assortment of high-end fashion, furniture, gadgets and make-up goodies, Secret Location urges you to try something different in the hope of uncovering something new about yourself, and for yourself.

Whether it’s a quick espresso break or a 10-course exploration of European cuisine, the onsite restaurant has a vast menu to choose from, and perpetuates the exploratory sentiment from which the store has blossomed.

In a word: Immersive 

Story, New York, US

Story takes root on Manhattan’s 10th Avenue, combining the perspective of a stylish magazine with the flexibility of an art gallery to produce a retail experience ingrained with a tangible sense of narrative.

The store is reimagined every four to eight weeks, shedding all remnants of any previous theme to embody a brand new trend. Collecting niche products in collaboration with subject- specific parties, it bursts with new life and purpose, embodying its current theme across the interior design and curated merchandise.

From ‘Wellness’ to ‘Home for the Holidays’, the owners have produced 23 fresh stories in the past four years, making your definition of the store dependent on the month you happen to visit.

In a word: Protean

Urbanist is home to colourful clothing and merchandise that fuses contemporary taste with tradition


The ultra-futuristic interior of this multi-sensory concept label will actively engage your ve senses as you navigate the brightly lit matrix of white mono- chrome. Motion sensors trigger the brand’s signature fragrance, the vinyl soundtrack lls the background, and Japanese tea is quietly brewed in the corner, all while you browse its distinct urban collections.

Black-and-white merchandise finds camouflage and contrast in the reflections and luminescent surfaces of the crystal-white architecture that frame your vision.

The store targets a niche audience hungry for a high-contrast urban style, and the freedom of online shopping is integrated throughout the in-store experience via tablets that allow shoppers to customise the designs of their selected items, sending their bespoke products to the on-site print studio where they are created, then and there.

In a word: Geometric

Normann Copenhagen, Copenhagen, Denmark

A champion of modern design and a fervent connoisseur of originality through simplicity, the flagship store of this brand inspires customers to harness their creativity and construct a modern home decor that resonates personally.

Alongside an exciting mix of Danish and international brands, the store flaunts a collection of original items produced by a diverse range of designers. Receiving five to 10 new design proposals every day, it’s no wonder the store has so many inventive creations. On those brief occasions when it’s not ooded with customers, the store operates as a platform for art exhibitions, fashion events and small, selective happenings.

In a word: Bespoke