April 24, 2015

German Engineering: Fun Factory by Karim Rashid

When we say a room is sexy, it’s a compliment. A room can also be oversexed or undersexed, just like a person. Interior Design Hall of Fame member Karim Rashid has found the perfect mix of naughty and nice for boutiques selling both lingerie and sex toys.

His latest boutique for Fun Factory, Europe’s largest manufacturer of sex toys, is in Munich, on a corner of a high-profile square. Bavaria is fairly conventional, and the location, 2,200 square feet on two levels, posed some spatial challenges as well. “It was a very tough space, super-narrow and long with an old, decrepit staircase,” he explains.

Also “tricky,” he adds, was the relationship to the street. “On one hand, you can’t have people under 18 going in,” he says. “At the same time, you don’t want to make it look like this old-school kind of dark, dirty, taboo place. There has to be some level of tastefulness.” So the first step, providing a touch of discretion for the front and side windows, was an elegantly dotted film on the glass.

The windows’ original frames, in gold-painted anodized aluminum, were actually what suggested his overall color scheme: gold, white, and black. Because  the products themselves are a riot of color, the mannequins, biomorphic display cases, floors, walls, and ceilings could provide a neutral refinement. The colors furthermore establish a progression, starting lighter and friendlier on the ground level and becoming darker upstairs, where the more hardcore stuff is displayed.

On both levels, white lines swirl across the vinyl flooring—the project’s signature. “It’s a new flooring technology, in that the pattern is printed not adhered,” he says. The lines choreograph the customer’s movements, offering a sense of “control” in addition to “softness and fluidity,” he continues.

Summarizing his attitude toward designing a sex shop, he proclaims, “Every animal is running around naked except us. This is all part of our nature.” A whiz at product design, he’s at work on his second toy for the company, too.

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