Top: Photo by Thomas Berberic Bottom: Photo courtesy of Urban Agency
On a busy corner in Neumünster, Germany, a massive shoe shelf opens itself to the urban environment and coexists within it. In the new flagship shop of Stüben Fuß & Schuh–an orthopedic shoemaker and retailer founded in 1895–the two-story extension features a transparent façade that was designed as a full-height wooden shelf.
“With a retail concept that aims to offer more than a simple shopping experience, the store presents itself to the public space as an open and innovative building that combines function, design and branding,” says Henning Stüben, co-founder of Urban Agency, the architecture firm behind the design. “With its striking profile, the building creates a [stunning] completion of the urban block and becomes a landmark in the public space.”
With double- and single-height spaces distinguishing the shop’s various functions, the 3,600-sq.-ft. shop houses a concrete interior that is imprinted with the wooden shuttering featured on the wall opposite the transparent, shelved façade. Pops of color are incorporated into storage drawers under a staircase, flooring and the bespoke furniture, which is made from the same larch as that used on the façade shelf.
An open, upper-level shoemaker’s workshop allows customers to watch craftsmanship in action through a “glass workshop.” On the opposite side, an office area is reached by a cantilevered staircase and extends into a catwalk at the floor-to-ceiling shelved façade. “Viewed from the exterior, the storefront becomes a type case, framing the changing collection,” Stüben says. “Viewed from the
inside, the collection is embedded in the public space that becomes its changing backdrop.”