If you walked into a retail store and got the feeling you were in an art gallery, would you spend more?
That’s what a number of ambitious in-store designers around the world are betting on. Stores are increasingly borrowing curation techniques from gallery spaces, using art in retail build-outs, and displaying products in innovative ways. This trend is a clear testament art’s profound effects on the human psyche.
Japanese sportswear brand Descente Blanc’s Tokyo store incorporates large windows against a stripped back aesthetic, neon strip lighting, and garments hung on suspended rails in a moving display.
Caravan’s boutique sneaker store in Paris leverages a compact space with white boxes stacked vertically under an undulating light sculpture, which showcases the bright, textured shoes as objects of desire.
In select Max Mara stores, the original artwork that inspired their sunglass designs are displayed next to new products, turning each store into a host for a traveling art exhibition.
British footwear brand Kat Maconie turned an old London subway station into an artistic pop-up shop where shoes sit elevated on pedestals amid disco decor and fun colors.
Versace’s new retail as art showroom in New York features concept mirrors, inlaid brass tracks running along a polished concrete floor, and moveable furniture, allowing this minimalist shop floor to adjust to any exhibit that arrives.
Finally, Adidas invited IPaintMyMind to curate their flagship store in the Wicker Park area of Chicago with works created by local artists. The partnership with Adidas allowed IPMM to curate exhibitions for three financially strapped local schools at zero cost.
An Adidas spokesperson said the company wanted their largest “Originals” store to celebrate the pioneering culture and creativity of Chicago. True to form, in front of the Wicker Park store stands an original sculpture by Chicago artist, POSE. Inside, custom murals by southside Calligraffiti artist, Tubsz, adorn the walls. The store has an “L” train-inspired dressing room and a community wall where customers can share information about upcoming local events.
Were you to walk into any of these stores, you might be struck by a feeling you’re not used to feeling in retail spaces. The layout, color scheme, texture of the room, and works of strategically curated art might soothe, excite or invigorate you. Regardless of if you’re inspired to spend more money or not, the wave of art in retail is a testament to the palpable effect art can have on all of us.