What do you need to keep up with the future of fashion retail? Innovative ideas. And where else would you find a bigger bunch of creative minds, than in the Royal College of Art (RCA). For the Boutique and Unique space at our Oxford Circus Flagship store, we asked Interior Design students from the RCA to compete for the chance to give it a brand new makeover.
The winning design was by Rob Vinall – who is studying his MA in Interior Design – and was unveiled in-store in time for London Fashion Week and shines with ingenious concept. “The initial concept was an idea of cause and effect, giving importance to the elements of hanging and balance,” explained Vinall. His vision features a triangular ceiling grid from which products can be suspended, and which can be altered periodically to create different moods. We’re more then impressed!
We spoke with Vinall about the project, the clothes and his favourite designers.
What was the brief given to you for the project?
The brief was to come up with an expandable, flexible and energetic interior retail space which had to be able to entice the customer toward the Boutique and Unique section of the store. The brief was split into four phases, each of which focused on separate elements of the space as a whole. We all knew from the start that it was a live project so it was an exciting short project to work on but we weren’t told who the client was until the latter stages. Not knowing the client or the exact space until the later stages meant there was an element of detachment and we could really explore our ideas without constraint.
What was your inspiration behind the space?
I wanted to make the store feel less crowded, to give the Boutique a bit of breathing space and somewhere special to shop and browse. Everything in the store is almost immediately at eye level, especially the clothing. I wanted to have something above to entice you to that corner of the store. I became interested by the notion of balance and tried to simplify all the elements within the concept. The triangular forms came from an exploration into simplifying the geometry – which then evolved into a grid structure that invaded the space. The clothing and hanging elements are all hung and supported by the undulating triangular structure above. The colour of the triangles and gradient on the walls can be changed according to collections and campaigns to Topshop’s needs.
Did you use any specific reference?
There is a dance studio by Tsutsumi and Associates, and that has a really beautiful gradient fade on the mirror treatment which illudes to a top heavy kind of dream like space. I also like a bench designed by h220430 that looks like its weightless and floating. I think there’s definitely some Brutalist influences in the simple geometry of the ceiling design as well.
Which designers or architects do you most admire?
Francis Alys, Mitch Epstein, Carmody Groarke, Gordon Matta Clark, Troika, Max Lamb, Ken Adam, Erno Goldfinger, 6a.
What’s your favourite space in London?
I love the Barbican, both internally and externally. I have a passion for post war architecture and the interior is a beautiful example of Brutalist post-war concrete construction. I also love the interior of the Commercial Tavern in Spitalfields when drinking.
Head down to our flagship store Topshop Oxford Circus in London to see the new Boutique and Unique space for yourselves.