Collecting high-end sneakers is similar to being a member of a private club. To reinforce that “members-only” theme, specialty shoe retailer R.sole creates stores that are part art gallery, part urban nightclub.
Tobin+Parnes Design Enterprises (New York) created that hybrid environment to showcase the custom-made shoes and special-edition sneakers from Nike and other brands sold by the specialty retailer. The air of exclusivity “begins at the R.sole storefront and is carried throughout the entire space,” notes Tobin+Parnes senior associate Vlad Zadneprianski.
The store’s façade consists of a front window covered in translucent vinyl with geometric cut-outs, offering only tantalizing glimpses inside. The store’s rectangular interior is dominated by dark gray finishes on its millwork, floor, ceilings and walls; that “black-box” backdrop is counterbalanced with plenty of LED lighting that cranks up the space’s visual energy.
Niche wall-display units bearing lines of sneakers are backlit by color-changing LEDs. That lighting reflects off a series of rotating, opaque merchandise-display panels that run down the center of the space. And recessed LED floor tiles direct customers to areas where shoe-related accessories and collectibles are offered.
“The overall effect is exciting and memorable,” says co-owner Barry Pener. “The response from both our vendors and customers to the look, design and feel of our store has been incredible.”
The Tobin+Parnes design is on display at two R.sole locations – the original in St. Louis’s University City shopping district and another in the Laurelwood Shopping Center in Memphis, Tenn. – and the chain is eyeing further expansion in the Midwest.
Client: R.sole, St. Louis – Barry Pener, owner; Sammy Salky, owner
Design: Tobin+Parnes Design Enterprises, New York – Carol Tobin, principal-in-charge; Robert M. Parnes, principal-in-charge; Vlad Zadneprianski, senior associate; Gerard Orozco, senior associate; Dorothy Dejkanovic, interior designer
Alex Hirsig, associate
Outside Design Consultants: Design One, New York (lighting)
Audio Ultd., East Farmingdale, N.Y. (audio visual)
Nadia Zadniprianska, Staten Island, N.Y. (graphic design)
Architect: Robert Mark Parnes, New York
General Contractor: GM Northrup, Ormond Beach, Fla.
Audio/Visual: JBL, Northridge, Calif.
Fixtures: |2|, Lexington, Ky.
|445|, Odenton, Md.
|1175201|, Rockaway, N.J.
Flooring: |1175109|, Madera, Calif.
Furniture: Mitchell Gold, Taylorsville, N.C.
Lighting: |651|, Northbrook, Ill.
|963|, Garden City, N.Y.
|1529|, Glendale, N.Y.
|1175819|, Huntington Beach, Calif.
Coemar, Mantova, Italy
LightWild, Overland Park, Kan.
Signage/Graphics: Applied Image, Farmingdale, N.J.
|1363|, St. Paul, Minn.
Photography: Ruggero Vanni, New York