Solestruck’s mission is “to rid the world of ugly shoes, one pair at a time.” For their flagship retail store, the popular web-based company selected a space in Portland’s Blackbox retail project.The display zone is a high concept “shop-dark” where the all-black concrete floors, textured-coated walls, and brake form metal shelves fade away to reveal glowing swaths of light that dramatize curated exhibits of shoes. Carved and coved out of a columnar structure, the central cabinet integrates display & storage space, as well as custom-upholstered seating notched into the mass.In contrast to the drama of the display zone, the back-of-house is warm and expressive. Drawing on a wine cellar concept, backstock storage is exposed and celebrated as a collection. Clad in cork and exposed brick walls, this secondary zone is highly visible yet just out of reach to the public, separated by a floor to ceiling glass wall. By virtue of the frequent events and collaborations held in the space, the expanses of glass at the storefront and back of house provide ample space for ever-changing vinyl graphics. A custom marquee-style sign on the exterior alerts the neighborhood and clientele of upcoming events. Dramatically contrasting the dark and light elements of the shop and providing a flexible, versatile environment make this space the ultimate shoe store and event space.
The Solestruck project’s challenges revolved around the spatial constraints and the fabrication of a large custom element. With only 975 sq.ft. at their disposal, the design team capitalized on space to preserve a premium look while providing ample storage for stock. This was accomplished three-fold by exposing the backstock shelves with shoe boxes stacked to the ceiling, installing hidden hang-bars under the linear displays, and equipping the central cabinet with concealed storage. Designing the massive central display took imagination - building it required innovation. Where the unit meets the ceiling and floor, it curves and coves simultaneously in a complex contour, challenging to the framers and drywall installers. The challenge was met by developing a framing system that resembled the hull of a ship and would support the drywall in keeping its shape. The result is a premium and custom retail environment with respect to economy of space.