Swiss luxury goods brand Bally has built a reputation on turning functionality into the stuff of fetish and for matching handcrafting with finely turned industrialisation. Now, with new owners, a new CEO, Frédéric de Narp (formerly the chief of Harry Winston), and a new creative director, Pablo Coppola, Bally is keen to reconnect with its 163-year-old heritage, particularly its associations with Swiss modernism.
For the design of its relocated New Bond Street store - Bally's first store opened on Bond Street in 1881 - it has drafted in architect David Chipperfield (W*174) and opened up its archive of store designs for inspiration. One of these store designs immediately caught the architect's eye. Opened in Spiez, Switzerland, it was the work of a young Marcel Breuer, on his way to becoming one of the master modernists.
'Breuer designed the most inspiring Bally store and it is from there that some of the ideas for this new store concept are elaborated,' says Chipperfield. He has taken two clear cues from Breuer: the use of stock walls, ranks of pigeonholes for shoes in boxes - the historical heart of the Bally brand - to create striking display grids; and bespoke tubular steel furniture.
The stock walls are much like Breuer's, but Chipperfield has also played with three-dimensional gridded American walnut display walls. And stock walls, left unbacked and unstocked, have also been used to create transparent frame walls. Working with a continuous white resin and stucco ceiling and a floor of grey wool and hemp carpet, the store has a pared-down super-functionality, but with the walnut adding essential warmth. Display tables, mirrors and footstools, meanwhile, take Breuer's tubular metal method and run with it. A new bent metal Bally lamp updates a striking Breuer design.
Making sure that the store design is more than a sophisticated Bauhaus tribute act, Chipperfield has also introduced sofas, armchairs and pouffes inspired by the works of the Italian designers Ignazio Gardella and Luigi Caccia Dominioni of the 1960s. The store also includes what Bally has tagged the Gentleman's Corner, including special services and its own lounge area.
De Narp considers Chipperfield's store concept a huge step forward: 'It is the first step in a global rollout of a new generation of stores that will convey Bally's modernity as a brand while respecting its heritage.'