Walk This Way

Camper aims for big impact from a small footprint in Santa Monica, Calif.
Posted February 27, 2014

When Camper (Mallorca, Spain) acquired a new retail space in Santa Monica, Calif., the global footwear brand tapped MBH Architects (Alameda, Calif.) to reinterpret an original design concept built in Paris by Tokujin Yoshioka.

Despite spatial restrictions (a total footprint of just 864 square feet, 512 of which is dedicated to the sales floor) and building code limitations, MBH reports it delivered a fresh interpretation of Camper’s concept in less than 8 weeks.

During demolition, the team opened the exterior and raised the ceiling so that the interior would be more visible in its pedestrian-heavy Santa Monica Boulevard location.

To maximize the space and keep the focus on a colorful selection of shoes, a minimalist aesthetic was specified. Custom, white porcelain hexagonal wall and floor tiles complement the bright red furniture, highlighting the brand’s signature colors. The modular furniture can be repositioned depending on the flow of store traffic.

“We really wanted a clean look so we hid electrical outlets in the wall or within the ceiling,” says Gastón Olvera, project director, MBH Architects. Shoelace-sized LED string lights were installed underneath high-gloss steel shelves to showcase the brand’s merchandise in a cool white light.

As for maintaining the store’s pristine white surfaces, Olvera says the space is “very oriented for high traffic” and the porcelain tiles are easy to wash.


Estudio Camper, Mallorca, Spain

Design and Architecture
Tokujin Yoshioka Design, Sibuya-Ku, Tokyo; MBH Architects, Alameda, Calif.: Gastón Olvera, Michael Thomas, Samuel Chow

General Contractor
Bogart Construction, Irvine, Calif.

MEP Engineer
Ajmani & Pamidi, San Francisco

Mutina, Modena, Italy

Estudio Camper, Mallorca, Spain; Valley Forge Fabrics, Pompano Beach, Fla.

Intense Lighting, Anaheim, Calif.

Wallcoverings and Materials
Daltile, Dallas; Mutina, Modena, Italy; Structural Steel Fabricators, Inc., Atlanta; Tnemec Company Inc., Kansas City. Mo.

Photography: Misha Bruk, San Francisco