For outerwear brand, Moose Knuckles, a desire to engage with customers beyond the sell signaled their transition from wholesale into proprietary retail shops. Emerging as the idiosyncratic brand for those in an unapologetic pursuit of independent expression and creative freedom, their first store concept encapsulates the brand attitude as a cabinet of curiosities, where products take center stage as the discovered curiosities.
The Canadian retailer needed to capture the brand’s attitude in visceral moments of expression. A firm move away from all traditional design cues prevalent in retail created space for the idea of a modern rebellion to take shape in this showroom-meets-experience concept. Daring to be open and unexpected, the anti-brand space redefines opulence, celebrating the brilliant harmony of artistic expression and commercial potential coexisting within its walls.
The unapologetic nature of the brand starts at the lease line, where the view into the store is purposefully obstructed by a form, which is a 3D extraction of the logo, that cleverly disguises the cash point and change room. Constraining exterior views into the shop drives curiosity and sets the tone for the rest of the experience.
To showcase the artistry of their collections, the designers sought to contrast the manufactured design polish with the raw beauty in nature. Products are displayed in silhouette against a glowing backdrop along one side of the shop, where limited edition pieces are exhibited in mirrored cabinets. The opposite wall is wrapped in a cold-rolled steel for the depth of its industrial properties.
Infinity and eclipse mirrors are applied to several areas, pulling your eye beyond the four walls. A floating raceway is wrapped in fur and hung by leather straps from the ceiling to show the rest of the collection, peppered with floating shelves to display soft accessories and hanging televisions to stream curated video art. The silhouette of an exposed stockroom pulls the sense of intrigue throughout the rest of the store by giving a glimpse into the Moose Knuckles closet. The strong juxtaposition of the manufactured versus organic polish accentuates the beauty of their products.
Materiality was selected not to recreate the outdoor environment, but rather to complement the philosophy of nature, so every surface is appointed with a rich, yet rugged textural materiality. The high level of reflectivity in the store through high-resin mirrors, polished stainless steel, and a glowing wall expresses the cold synonymous with winter. The end-cut black locust block emulates a cobblestone street, combined with the cold-rolled steel, hand-stitched leather straps, and fur rail suggests comfort and coziness.
The contrast of these warm and cold extremes creates an atmosphere that speaks to the performance of their products. Establishing distinctive points of memory in an anti-retail environment becomes a brand signature, as the unapologetic nature of the brand language is designed to evolve in concept with every new location. The space exists to unify their tribe, where the open concept store becomes a place for conversation and community for bonds to form and accidental synergies arise.