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New Looks, New Formats


Two new projects blend aesthetics and functionality to offer environments that reflect the latest in contemporary design and modern comfort. Both share a penchant or distinctive storefronts:


Reitman (Canada) Limited extends its portfolio with a new format, Cassis, targeted at babyboomer women. The 3,100-sq.-ft. store, in Barrie, Ontario, offers midpriced apparel in an upscale setting that is inviting and easy to shop.

To achieve maximum impact, half of the storefront and nearly 150 ft. of the floor space is devoted to a stylish, welcoming foyer. The other half of the front elevation is a huge window expanse softly framed in gauzy drapery. It offers a empting view of the environment beyond.

The interior has a gentle, open feel, enhanced by platform-based, low fixtures that are coupled with nesting tables. Mannequins stand in a runway formation that runs the length of the store, providing wardrobing ideas and navigational cues.

The design team treated light as a primary design material. A combination of cove lighting, recessed spotlights and perimeter lighting fills the space with a soft, warm glow. It is complemented by an eclectic mix of finishes and materials.

“We used a lot of diffused lighting, which is very flattering,” said Allan Tse, designer, II BY IV Design Associates, Toronto.


Design: II BY IV Design Associates, TorontoContractor: Sajo Construction, Montreal

Par-20 metal-halide lamps are used extensively throughout. Also featured are MR16s and T5 fluorescents (in the cove lighting).

“The new metal-halide technology is energy-efficient and has a fantastic color rendition,” Tse added.

The overall effect is such that the store is bright, but not in a glaring or harsh way.

“We were very conscious that as you mature, you need a brighter space,” Tse said.

In the fitting rooms, recessed, halo-lit mirrors and decorative, custom pendant lamps provide a flattering light. T5 compact fluorescents trace the back of each mirror. A ceiling cove washes lighting down in each of the rooms. “We didn’t do any downlighting over the mirrors,” Tse said. “The light is all diffused, and has a nice soft glow.”

Cassis, which debuted in 2006, has enjoyed a higher dollar volume per transaction than expected. It has been rolled out in a total of 10 locations, with more on the way.


Calvin Klein Underwear, a division of Warnaco, takes its retail store concept to the next level with a design that embodies the essence of the brand. The 1,800-sq.-ft. store, in NorthPark Center, Dallas, is made up of a series of elements that, taken in their totality, offer up a well-edited, targeted composition that reflects the nature of the goods on display. Evocative graphics play a key role in setting the mood.

An asymmetrical storefront with the opening justified to the left helps the store stand out from the other retailers. The entry allows for an uninterrupted, 17-ft. expanse of the shop front window. The entrance also creates a frame for a monumental graphic that measures 6 ft. by 11 ft. The photograph, a shot from the current advertising campaign, is located just inside the door. It is paired with an even larger one on the back focal wall of the 1,800-sq.-ft. shop. A third is placed on the right hand wall.

“Even with their size, the graphics don’t overwhelm the merchandise presentation,” said Steven Derwoed, managing director, RYA Design Consultancy, Dallas. “They are there to support the product and to ensure just the right degree of attitude and sexiness.”


Design: RYA Design Consultancy, DallasContractor: McGovern & Co., New York City

The women’s area, a key driver of the store concept, takes up 70% of the selling space. A custom, low-profile puck system (used on the perimeter) provides flexibility and unobtrusiveness. A soffit brings the eye down and creates a sense of place for the product.

Perimeter graphics and elegant, 2-in.- thick cast-resin fins that allow the product presentation to appear both monumental and manageable provide architectural articulation. The fins, which appear to grow out of the architecture, are in line with the “elegant and effortless” theme of the store and the brand itself.

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