If the recently opened ETQ flagship store represents more than a refreshing outsider, tides are turning in the Amsterdam retail scene – where the typical multibrand designer shops are defined by a mixture of taxidermy, hanging plants and vintage furniture, flocked by bearded men and premium coffee sippers.
Stepping inside the two-storey shop, one is first and foremost tempted to enter the void below. ‘I envisioned people being pulled inwards and down into the basement,’ says Jos Van Dijk, the interior architect whose studio designed the store. Van Dijk converted the 3,450 sq ft space from a former classic menswear store to an engaging stage with a 'Barragán'-esque appeal – a comparison ascribed to the two symmetrical solid concrete volumes that swaddle up each side of the heavy concrete stairs. Decked out in pleasing charcoal, volumes at either side house dressing rooms.
For a multi-brand store selling its own handcrafted leather sneakers (priced from €220–€280) and unisex garments from Opening Ceremony, ClothSurgeon and Maison Kitsune (among others), there is surprisingly little product per square metre. ‘I truly put up for doing more with less,’ reflects Van Dijk on the bold choices.
In fact, the entire upper floor is more gallery than retail space. Even the freestanding, modular powder-coated steel display object and similar wall-sized display system are simply adorned, with just a few pieces of merchandise. All of which is intentional, explains Van Dijk.
‘ETQ is about essentialism,' he says. 'Think simplicity, timelessness and quality. To get that brand message across implies a pure and clean interior that relies heavily on real materials like concrete and steel. It's a brand story told with as little words as possible.’