Condom purchasing, a rather low-key affair, has traditionally gone something like this: Products are displayed plainly at the back of a drug store, and purchasers quickly and discreetly buy and get out. But Condom Kingdom, a newly renovated store on Philadelphia's trendy South Street, transcends the event into an adventure.
When the nine-year-old store needed a facelift -- and moved to a larger, 1600-square-foot space next door -- owner Stuart Schlaffman hired Dynamic Imagineering (Baltimore) to concoct a castle motif that reflects the store's name. The royal treatment begins with a drawbridge, arched windows, a "sperm-spewing" waterfall and worn-looking cobblestone flooring. Faux rocks and trees around the store's perimeter create a medieval garden look; faux-stone walls extend the courtyard feel.
Overhead, hand-made plaster "sperm" appear to swim toward an "egg" -- actually a dome in a corner of the store. The centerpiece "condom tree" holds the premier product on its leaves. And tiny details reinforce the primary product: Sperms are painted onto concrete at the entrance, hang from chandeliers and frame wall displays. Schlaffman says customers love the revamp, and sales have increased by 35 percent. For those coming to the store for serious business, employees are trained to find the perfect fit. (The staff has actually conducted hand measurements to gauge individual product size.) But the store also has great party gags, like "Penis Pasta." All in all, good, clean fun.
Client Design: Condom Kingdom, Philadelphia -- Stuart Schlaffman, owner
Outside Consultants: Richard Zeper, Yardley, Pa. (lighting); JC Architects, Philadelphia (architect); Coyote Construction, Philadelphia (general contractor)
Suppliers: Dynamic Imagineering, Baltimore (fixturing/flooring); Miller Lighting, Philadelphia (lighting); Pro Sign, Downington, Pa. (signage)
Photography: Jeff Fadellin, Philadelphia