For engelhorn sports, the sporting goods division of the Mannheim, Germany-based fashion and accessories purveyor engelhorn, creating a space for high-end bikes and skating equipment was a must. “There’s a new enthusiasm for bike and skater sports, partly ignited through the new wave of e-bikes in Germany and Europe,” says Angela Kreutz, partner at Blocher Blocher Partners (Stuttgart, Germany), the firm that constructed the retailer’s new cycle-centric section in its more than 107,000-square-foot store. “So engelhorn decided to expand its cycling world to 10,760 square feet.”
A quick switch out of the retailer’s seasonal selections – beach fashion or ski gear – from a basement-level department secured plenty of room for an area that would be a hub for biking enthusiasts. The design team focused on simple materials such as steel and wood. A metal mesh forms what Kreutz calls a “mountainous silhouette” on the ceiling. And those shapes are reflected in the furniture at the rear of the space to give the customer an almost weightless, suspended-between-heaven-and-earth feeling as if he or she cycled to the summit and was on the verge of descending.
One particular design challenge was how to display the bicycles. “Fixtures,” Kreutz says, “need to be functional but really presentable, too.” So Blocher Blocher Partners created its own using a flexible track construction that features three different presentation levels and requires no additional struts. “They have a particularly delicate effect,” she says. “It’s almost as if the bikes are floating.”
Skates and helmets line the back wall that’s pocked with holes to create a more visually appealing and structured surface. To give customers a greater sense of community within the department, the design team introduced a juice bar, the Gipfelkette (mountain chain in German) to encourage athletes to gather and mingle while shopping. It’s an ideal spot with a TV to watch sports or for riders and skaters to fuel up before heading out on the trail.
Retailer: Engelhorn KGaA, Mannheim, Germany
Design and Architecture: Blocher Blocher Partners, Stuttgart, Germany
Audio/Visual: Engelhorn KGaA, Mannheim, Germany
Ceilings/Fixtures/Wallcoverings and Materials: Knoblauch Ladenbau, Markdorf, Germany
Flooring: Werner Kütter, Böhl-Iggelheim, Germany; Mortimor GmbH, Schweitzingen, Germany
Lighting: Elan Beleuchtungs- und Elektroanlagen GmbH, Cologne, Germany
Visual Merchandising/ Signage/Graphics: Blocher Blocher View, Stuttgart, Germany
Photography: Nikolaus Koliusis, Stuttgart, Germany