Project: Birkenstock, New York

Design: TPG Architecture
Opening date: October 2018
Store size: 167 sq m

German footwear brand Birkenstock opened its first company-owned retail store in the United States in October with a design by TPG Architecture. For the first time in the US, customers are able to explore the brand's growing range of products for women, men and kids, which were previously only available through wholesalers and distributors.

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The landmark building at 120 Spring Street in the heart of Soho, New York provides an appropriate backdrop to showcase the heritage brand, which has roots dating back to 1774. Split across two floors, the store shows a new direction in retail design for Birkenstock, which is well known for its comfortable cork sandals.

'The client sought an experiential and brand-centric store that not only created a brand experience, but also celebrated their rich history and highlighted their dedication to craftsmanship,' explains a spokesperson for TPG Architecture.

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The 167 sq m space has a double-height foyer and incorporates whimsical, organic materials such as cork, leather and felt that align with Birkenstock's products.

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The ground floor features an industrial cobbler's workshop bench where shoppers can customise their own shoes. Here, heritage walls with shadow boxes and a greenery wall with a bronze-coloured branded token commemorate the brand's original shoebox design.

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Connecting the first and second floors is a mesh-like black screen that is designed to mirror the same pattern found on Birkenstock's rubber soles.

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The second floor showroom lounge space houses the brand's higher-end and exclusive collections, including limited-edition designer collaborations such as Rick Owens and 10 Corso Como.

'It is an important part of our ambition to open our own retail stores in strategic locations and vibrant neighbourhoods,' says Oliver Reichert, CEO of Birkenstock. 'The opening of our own retail store in New York is a bow to one of the few remaining fashion capitals in the world that shapes global cultural and consumer trends. Being here will keep our brand vivid and will also create visibility for all the innovations in our collection towards a group of enlightened, highly influential consumers.'

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The opening of the Soho store marks the 47th Birkenstock-owned store globally and the first in the US.  

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