April 25, 2014

The Street Comes Inside: Mrqt Luxury Boutique by ROK

If you already own a specialty sneaker store called Suppa, and you’re going to expand into luxury street-wear and accessories in the space next door, what do you name it? Mrqt, of course. (Get it? Sounds like supermarket.) That’s precisely what Suppa and Mrqt’s parent company, BNIB Handels, has done in Stuttgart, Germany.

The next step was to find the right firm to design a striking interior—standing out is essential to the business of hawking limited-edition hats or hoodies. Friends pointed the owner of BNIB Handels to the Web site of ROK, which stands for Rippmann Oesterle Knauss. There, he discovered a prototype wall installation of wooden rods configured to improve office acoustics by diffusing sound waves.

“Could you integrate this into a retail space?” he asked Matthias Rippmann, Silvan Oesterle, and Michael Knauss. So integrate ROK did, using 22,000 beech rods to populate one sidewall of Mrqt’s long, narrow 650-square-foot space.

The process began with MDF panels CNC-cut with myriad holes. Since their location and angle had been calculated in software written by ROK, installation took just two days. “We just had to hammer the rods in, one after the other,” Ripp­mann explains. Because of their different lengths—short around the clothing racks, long higher up—a ghostly pattern emerges.

Aside from the feature wall, the interior is strictly understated. Walls are white. Flooring is pale gray polished concrete. Hang bars are simple stainless steel. And there’s only one mirror, encouraging interaction with the staff. Shoppers might think they’ve wandered into a gallery, with Stüssy T-shirts, Casio watches, Herschel backpacks, and Beastin’ lids as the artwork.

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