Kenzo’s new store in Milan does not have any of the fancy curves and sweeping open spaces that earmark most star-architect retail mausoleums. Rather, the shop is a prime example of the sort of good design and practical functionality that comes along when a talented in-house team takes the retail reigns themselves. Designed by Kenzo creative directors Carol Lim and Humberto Leon, the shop is a re-fit of an existing space in Milan’s Via Manzoni, using a concept that the duo debuted in Asia last year.
Upon entering the 246 sq m space, guests are met with a giant sculpture of a hand forking a plate of spaghetti. Also designed in-house, the surreal artwork is a humorous take on Milan’s obsessive food culture. The rest of the shop, however, is less playful. A grid of fluorescent lights hangs overhead, illuminating cleanly drawn racks made from a dark blue anodized aluminum. Each zone has its own colour tone: shades of blue for the boys and peaches and pinks for the girls.
Marble is an ongoing theme; recreated underfoot on veiny carpets tossed on the concrete floors, or on tables that are an arrow configured intarsia of stone and steel. The most compelling architectural component of this boutique is the all marble staircase and adjoining cash wrap desk that looks as if its been crafted from a glowing blue lapis lazuli stone. That together with the custom made furniture, like the navy blue leather pouf with a shaggy navy goat hair back, give the sort of wink and nod for which this brand is known.