Specialty apparel retailer Jigsaw (London) likes to change things up. Its stores – 87 in total around the globe – are designed to reflect their specific location and local consumer. Its 2500-square-foot store in London’s revitalized King’s Cross development, with its mix of retail, residential spaces, offices, restaurants and art galleries, was no exception.
Inspired by what Joe Evans, creative director of global design agency Checkland Kindleysides (London), calls a “more youthful, fashion-forward audience,” the store’s design takes on a theatrical aesthetic that emphasizes improvisation and functionality, allowing the space to host social events and product launches.
Fixtures, like a pink scaffolding tower for displaying denim or a repurposed ladder platform used for men’s apparel and accessories merchandising, are mobile (i.e., the scaffolding was adapted during London Fashion Week as a stage for mannequins, while the ladder does double duty as way to maneuver lofty graphics and product rails) and also lend a backstage feel to the space. Plywood and leather box-like fixtures transition from shelves to hanging rails and accessory trays, while faceouts are used to showcase specific products.
To further the backstage aesthetic, the ceiling is outfitted with a theater gantry, which also enables the retailer to use the entire space to suspend merchandise, graphics and lighting. The darkness overhead contrasts with the stained timber flooring, spiffed up with a bold geometric design. Fitting rooms are wrapped in lush, velvet curtains, while the contemporary, sculptural LED-strip chandeliers pulse and change color in time with the store’s music.
“King’s Cross is a melting pot of cultures, and we sought to create a bold, vibrant color palette mixed with timeless architectural colors that celebrate this energy,” Evans says. “The materials are simple, pared down and neutral.”
Existing features, such as exposed brick and concrete blocks, were salvaged to serve as a simple backdrop, enhanced with a coat of pale blue paint and topped with oversized stage flats in pastel hues.
“All of the features come together to create an experience orchestrated with the glamor and energy of a theater or fashion show,” Evans says. “The behind-the-scenes, temporary dynamic enhances the element of surprise, serendipity and discovery within the store.”