A view of the store's gallerylike interior.

Atelier Barda Turns to Retrofuturism for This SoHo Boutique

When it comes to winterwear, Canadian brand Kanuk knows how it’s done. Since establishing its first boutique in Montreal in 1970, the coat manufacturer’s business shows no signs of slowing, leading the brand to enlist architecture studio Atelier Barda to create its first international store in Manhattan. “Kanuk was born in a time of statements and visions, so we looked back at that era as a starting point for our thought process, for the desired experience,” says Antonio Di Bacco, firm cofounder and principal. “We wanted to create an idiosyncratic spatial experience that looked toward the future, the unknown.”

To do this, the design team opted for a monochromatic white palette, creating a gallerylike interior that enables the brand’s handcrafted coats to command attention alongside custom pieces. Shifts in lighting and room dimensions further shape the overall experience. The reception hall, with its 14-foot-high ceilings, opens into the product showroom through a 7-foot-high portal, creating a mazelike effect as visitors move from one room to the next. “The goal was to force visitors to question their experience, to destabilize routines, to create a glitch in their normal, everyday lives,” adds Kevin Botchar, director and architect. A monolithic desk made of semi-translucent, seafoam green resin transports visitors through time as they wrap up their shopping experience in style.  

Custom pale green reception desk.
The sales desk references design aesthetics from the 1960s and 1970s.
Coats in neutral colors line the perimeters of the store.
Coats in neutral colors line the perimeters of the showroom.
Artwork of an owl in blue hues on the wall.
Moody artwork adds to the store’s retrofuturistic aesthetic.
A view of the store's gallerylike interior.
The product showroom is accessed through a 7-foot-high portal, providing a sense of compression in contrast to the 14-foot ceilings of the spaces on either side of it.
Blue velvet curtains hide the dressing area from the rest of the store.
At the rear of the showroom, another 7-foot-high transitional portal connects to the store’s fitting rooms, with a waiting area on the showroom side denoted by its curvature. A blue curtain offers a subtle nod to the drama of the theater.
The exterior of the Kanuk store in Soho, New York.
The exterior of the store in SoHo.

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