The Cords Stockholm Stureplan
The Cords&Co, a new fashion brand devoted to corduroy commissioned In Praise of Shadows Architects in Stockholm to develop a concept for their physical presence as well as the design for their first set of stores in Stockholm. Paris, London, LA and NY. The first to open with the launch of the brand was Stockholm.
With a strategy relating to Adolf Loos way of having the material in itself create the ornament the design is built on a palette of materials with a clear natural material expression: MDF, Brass, Mirrors, Linen and Neon. The materials are arranged to enhance the spatial characteristics of each store, and to make reference to the corduroy. As for corduroy, the materials are worked and connected to create a composition of lines, overlaid in different scales. Through the detailing plain materials as the MDF are heightened as it is cut to vertical lines and more exclusive materials as the brass are brought down with corner details where the sub structure of MDF is exposed.
Outstanding features present at each locations, such as a brick fireplace, a wooden floor or a cooper facade, are kept for their local character and patina, but are slightly transformed to be heightened in quality and expression. The most obvious reference to the striped structure of the Corduroy are the cladding panels used on the walls. The MDF unfolds in the space like a ribbon of fabric that brings both verticality to the small spaces and soften the corners. Moreover, the mirrors are cut in wider stripes, flat or tilted, to reflect the space in vertical segments. The open joints between them reinforced the clear vertical lines of the MDF panels. Linen textiles are hung with a generous lengths to create distinct vertical shadow lines. The product displays are neutral in expression and designed for the corduroy to be exposed. The pants display is integrated in the MDF wall for a massive character and exposure.
Being inspired from artists working with neons as their medium of creation, we were able to sublim artificial light to turn it into a tectonic feature. By the use of striped neons for the display table, we have given shape to light, reinforcing the vertical stripes present throughout in space. In dialogue with Christian Herdeg series’ the Cubes, the table, with its reflective surfaces, duplicates the light.
In our work we are interested in the inherent qualities of specific materials, and the unique characteristics intrinsically linked to their deployment. From the beginning, we felt a strong attraction to The Cords’ vision of working with corduroy as a special material with distinct identity. The task of creating a physical presence around that peculiar fabric, drawing from its heritage and character, was an outstanding starting point for an architectural exploration.
The conceptual process undertaken has involved visits to the stores’ locations and making research on site together with the Cords team. Taking into account the qualities of interior spaces and the personality of each situation, we have formed a concept intermingling “street attitude” and “high end fashion”. Inspired by the Cords strategy to revive a traditional material and bring it to a broader use, we have approached the architectonics elements in the same manner, developing the uses of traditional materials to new expressions.
The Cords flagship store in Stockholm at Stureplan was the first to open. It is a small but high space where the vertical is dramatized by added freestanding MDF walls. An existing pillar is cladded in brass and the cut-up mirrors break the views and expand the space. The cashier in brass and the display table as a neon mirror installation, are reflecting the neon “cords”, display upfront to turn it into a focus of the space.
Architects: In Praise of Shadows
Fredric Benesch and Katarina Lundeberg with Vincent Bourassa
Client: The Cords&Co
Construction Stockholm: KS Projekt
Light: Fagerhult Retail
All photos by Björn Lofterud