There are a number of constraints that apply to retail fitouts that make design in this area unique. High tenancy turnover rates, a desire for an aesthetic that is absolutely up-to-the-minute and the need to accommodate ultra-rapid construction times all contribute towards lending projects a lean quality. The challenge then becomes extracting from this leanness a design of substance and experiential richness. The extremely rational solution this year’s winner provides has an undeniable beauty. Rather than focus on frills, Facet Studio has devoted all of its attention to that most critical aspect of retail design: presentation. Turning the unitised nature of manufacture to its advantage, Sneakerology/Streetology makes a merit of repetition – recalling the taxonomic display systems of museum to striking effect. The result has undeniable magnetism: if you were after sneakers, you’d be in there with a shot – which, as the jury saw it, was perhaps the best justification of all for awarding this project the top prize.
“In a context of a mall, where there’s so much visual noise, this was a really beautiful curatorial project.. It had a lovely sense of restraint and calm, which I think is critical in these hyper-designed, hyper-branded environments.” – 2011 juror, Hannah Tribe