Outside the box: Birkenstock debuts a new mobile retail concept in Berlin

Design store
Design store owner Andreas Murkudis joins forces with Birkenstock to create a portable, pop-up shop.
(Image credit: Ana Santl)

Andreas Murkudis opened his first shop in Berlin after 15 years as director of the city’s Museum der Dinge (Museum of Design). It was 2003 and the dawn of the ‘concept store’ – a haloed interior that took the austere minimalism of the nineties and warmed it up with a dash of millennial optimism. And, for some, that confidence paid off. He has since opened another five stores across Germany, each reflective of his rigorous taste. ‘I’m a bad sales person, so I thought I needed to sell things I loved. It has always been a mix of things that interested me and this is still true today,’ Murkudis says.

In 2011, his main store moved from Mitte into the former Tagesspiegel newspaper building on Potsdamer Straße – a vast space that feels both bare yet lavish. ‘My idea is always to have a strong selection and each thing needs its own space to breathe. You know, I don’t like this internet thing. We do it a little bit, but at the end of the day we have more than 8,000 different items and we spend so much time changing the space, that people prefer to come and see it for themselves.’

Birkenstock debuts a new mobile retail concept in Berlin

Birkenstock white, displayed inside Murkudis' store

(Image credit: Ana Santl)

Right now, the shop is playing host to the first ever Birkenstock Box – a mobile retail concept initiated by the venerated shoe-brand favoured by hippies and hipsters the world over. The site-specific, multi-brand space was designed in collaboration with Gonzalez Haase AAS, who worked with Murkudis on the interior of his store. Over the coming months, it will travel to international destinations such as Kirna Zabête in the Hamptons and Barneys New York.

The Box provides a neutral, balanced and blessedly quiet showcase for merchandise. At Murkudis, the spotlight is on the handmade. The interior is even made up of layers of the Birkenstock’s iconic cork material. At the centre is a modernist structure that mirrors an island draped in leather accessories and fine glassware in the main store. Here the edit focuses on the natural with hand-poured candles by CristaSeya, liquor by Stählemühle and artisanal chic cotton clothes by Roberta Furlanetto and Aspesi. On sale too are limited edition sandals designed by Murkudis’ brother, the fashion designer Kostas Murkudis. The cork sole of the classic Arizona style is moulded in leather, available in forest green or deep navy.

‘I don’t normally like these pop up stores because…I have a store,’ Murkudis smiles, ‘but I had known the team for some time and it sounded like we could do something really special. Birkenstock was really generous throughout.’ Shipping containers are arranged at double height at the front of the store. Connected by an internal staircase and offset, they create a terrace where the upper level retracts, offering a seamless line into the opposite building – a haven of beautiful things. ‘I like how it extends and connects to each other,’ he says. It’s a corker.

The Box

The Box is currently on display outside Murkudis’ Berlin store

(Image credit: Ana Santl)

Murkudis outside his eponymous store

Murkudis outside his eponymous store, on Potsdamer Straße

(Image credit: Ana Santl)

FASHION: Outside the box: Birkenstock debuts a new mobile retail concept in Berlin

The site-specific space was designed in collaboration with Gonzalez Haase AAS, who also worked with Murkudis on the interior of his store

(Image credit: Ana Santl)

Furniture displaying shoes

Furniture doubles up as display stand in the compact space

(Image credit: Ana Santl)

bags and bottles

The store provides a neutral and blessedly quiet showcase for merchandise

(Image credit: Ana Santl)


The Box is open at Andreas Murkudis, Berlin until 22 July. For more information, visit the Birkenstock website


Potsdamer Straße 81e
10785 Berlin


London based writer Dal Chodha is editor-in-chief of Archivist Addendum — a publishing project that explores the gap between fashion editorial and academe. He writes for various international titles and journals on fashion, art and culture and is a contributing editor at Wallpaper*. Chodha has been working in academic institutions for more than a decade and is Stage 1 Leader of the BA Fashion Communication and Promotion course at Central Saint Martins. In 2020 he published his first book SHOW NOTES, an original hybrid of journalism, poetry and provocation.