Fitness, Meet Fashion

Athletic brand Reebok moves its headquarters to Boston and unveils a new flagship store that conveys a full brand experience, blurring the athleisure lines of fitness, lifestyle and instant gratification

By Lola Thélin


Reebok’s mission is to inspire people to be their absolute best—physically, mentally and socially. And the fitness and lifestyle brand drove that purpose home in more ways than one in 2017, opening a tech-driven global flagship retail store at its new headquarters in south Boston.

“We are highly engaged in building innovative, creative and new solutions for our consumers,” says Paul Froio, vice president of U.S. retail, Reebok. “One of the reasons we thought this was the right place for us is the likeminded companies that are nimble and creative on a design and technology perspective, and consumer perspective that are already in the space.”

Located in a sprawling former warehouse known as the Innovation and Design Building on the edge of the city’s waterfront Seaport District, the 7,600-sq.-ft. retail store offers discovery at its core, encouraging people with shared passions to honor their bodies.

In the store’s entryway, several LED screens displaying graphics and marketing messages proudly announce that you have arrived at Reebok. Inside the 100-year-old building, customers are hit with the lighter tones and textures, an open-space floor plan, high ceilings and a natural-rock floor.

“This is a historic industrial building, and we applied that to the space, using the influences of the building. This space was sort of an homage to the building,” says Peter Quagge, global director of environmental design for Reebok. “The space itself is like a forest of columns. Instead of hiding the columns and wrapping them, we exposed them, so that they are part of the feature and part of the store. They are 36-in.-wide columns that are based on a 20-ft. grid, and they are absolutely beautiful.” Boston-based Shawmut Design and Construction was the construction management firm for the project. About three-quarters of an inch of former concrete flooring was grounded down to get to the original century-old concrete.

At the heart of the discovery message is the flagship’s in-house shoe cobbler, allowing for a true immersive shopper experience. Honoring its heritage of in-house shoe making, the YourReebok Customization Shop, located in the front corner of the floor space, allows visitors to customize the brand’s signature Classic Leather shoe style on-site by selecting the material, the colorization and working hand in hand with the shoemaker. There’s also the opportunity to design personalized graphic apparel and accessories in a matter of minutes using digital touchscreens. “It’s not only customization where you eventually get your product; it is customization where you leave with instant gratification, which is unique to our space,” Froio explains. “It’s a once-in-a-lifetime experience of seeing a shoe not only made, but also [having] input on what that product is and how that product is built.”

The new store also is home to exclusive Boston-specific products and limited-edition product ranges, making it a destination for sneakerheads. Another key feature is the 30,000-sq.-ft. Reebok headquarters’ gym next door, where customers can test sneakers by lifting weights or running on a treadmill before purchasing, bringing in authenticity of the brand. It’s the ultimate testing ground for a Reebok product.

The brand also ventured into a new realm of aesthetics for its global flagship, returning to Portland, Ore.-based Ziba Design to update the brand’s FitHub retail concept, and seamlessly integrate its Classics range—reflecting the brand’s deep heritage—within the extensive fitness offering.

The Boston flagship is spacious, light and airy, combining fashion and fitness seamlessly for a true athleisure experience. “The lines between fitness and lifestyle are blurred—and for good reason,” Froio explains. “More and more, this is the way our consumer purchases and wears our products.”

Except for the cobbler’s workshop and the fabric printing station, the remaining store boasts a clean and minimalist look—a holistic place for Reebok’s full brand, both athletic and lifestyle, in addition to serving as a more appealing space for a wider base of consumers.

“This is a softer palette than what we currently have out in the field,” Quagge says. “What we tried to do was create a palette of colors, textures and carpentry that our products can stand out against.” The dominant color is softer white—not bright white—used in the fixtures and on the wall. The next level is an aged and warm timber with an oak finish. Finally, the last level is a series of softer grays that gets darker and darker. “It’s all in degrees,” notes Charles Gates, global senior manager of environmental design, Reebok.

Reebok also mixed in tech and industrial elements throughout the space. Because the design uses many pre-existing elements in the building, the company did not bring in a lot of new materials. “We wanted to keep the existing building and refresh it,” Gates adds. Always leaning toward sustainability, Reebok implemented LED lighting throughout, and all monitors are set on timers, shutting off in the evening and automatically turning on in the morning. The fitting rooms are fitted with automatic switches, as well.

“This is the first store we’ve developed with a full-breadth of the brand,” Froio says. “We now have a fitness/lifestyle cohesive story.”

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project file

Reebok Headquarters Flagship
Boston


RETAILER
Reebok

CONTRACT DESIGN FIRM
Ziba

IN-HOUSE DESIGN
Reebok Environmental Design Team

ARCHITECT
BKA Architects

GENERAL CONTRACTOR
Shawmut Design and Construction

CONSULTANTS/ENGINEERS
WB Engineers + Consultants

STORE FIXTURES
Quarter20

LIGHTING
Capitol Light

FLOORING
J C Floorcovering Co. Inc.

SURFACING
Select Demo Services Inc.

SIGNAGE/GRAPHICS
Sign Design

METALS
Fabrication Platform Mfg. Group, Quinn Brothers of Essex Inc.

SOUND SYSTEMS
PlayNetwork, McDonald Electric Corp.

TECHNOLOGY
IGotcha Media, Sign Design, Media Resources


Information in the project file is provided by the retailer and/or design firm.

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