The premise behind the popular Rockport shoes is, "When you're comfortable, you can do anything." And for Rockport's new flagship in New York's Soho district, designers from Boston-based Bergmeyer Associates Inc. wanted the store's character to convey the same emotional and physical comfort as the product. The store is modern, yet warm and welcoming. And finely tuned engineering aspects of the shoes are interpreted in the design. For example, designers say the metal fixtures are precision-fit like the well-crafted seams of Rockport shoes. The integration of wood and glass materials also gives the display systems a sturdy, yet light appearance. Most interestingly, designers of the Soho store turned a common design challenge (what to do with pillars?) into a unique fixturing system that creates additional display space and helps customers differentiate between the men's and women's departments. Four structural columns were framed and transformed into "Lighthouse" fixtures. Like beacons, they draw customers to the women's department toward the back of the store. Wide at the base and narrow at the top, the structures join a halo-like light fixture that disappears into the drop ceiling. They feature vertical brand graphics, and two of these fixtures support flat-screen video monitors. The walls are coated with a lightly sheened, warm white paint, and recessed, indirect lighting enhances the store's overall comfort level. And free services follow suit. Beverages are available, and fatigued footsies can take advantage of electric foot massagers or get pampered by the resident licensed reflexologist.
Client Design: The Rockport Co., Marlboro, Mass. -- Linda Lewi, senior vp for global brand marketing; Nick Palihnich, director of retail; Jonathan Lander, director of creative development; Nicole Gamst and Kristin Lauer, visual merchandising; Scott Cirlin, art direction Design: Bergmeyer Associates Inc., Boston -- Joseph Nevin Jr., principal-in-charge; Laura Regrut, project designer; David Mayer, project designer; Ross Sinclair Cann, senior project manager; Joseph Zelloe, project leader; Otto Weiss, job captain; Karla Fernandes, Timothy Fink, Kelly McDonald and Maria Panagopoulou, assistant designers Consultants: Thomas J. Fiskaa, Brooklyn, N.Y. (engineering); Shawmut Design and Construction, Boston (construction manager/general contractor); Kugler Tillotson, New York City (lighting designer) Suppliers: Suss Woodcraft International Inc., LaSalle, Que. (millwork); Gilbert Industries Ltd., St. Laurent, Que. (metal fixturing); Interex, Amesbury, Mass. (cash wrap, power fixture and storefront graphics supports); Invisuals, Boston (window graphics); Lightolier, Fall River, Mass.; Artemide, Farmingdale, N.Y.; Luceplan, New York City; and Tech Lighting LLC, Chicago (light fixtures); Stone Source, Cambridge, Mass. (stone flooring); Benjamin Moore, Montvale, N.J. (paint); Sunshine Signs, N. Grafton, Mass. (signage); Bergmeyer Associates Inc., Boston (audio/visual design); Herman Miller, Zeeland, Mich.; Knoll, New York City; Furniture Concepts, Malden, Mass. Keilhauer, Toronto (furniture) Photographs: Chun Lai, New York City