Bär Cologne

Store Design — Breite Straße 32, 50667 Köln, Germany — 80 m² — 2013 — Bär GmbH

One foot in the city, one foot in the country

blocher shops conveys the central message of Schuhmanufaktur Bär, the Cologne shoe manufacturer: Move comfortably through all stages of life, with a bright and friendly brand image. Customers experience a store that takes its creative inspiration from three main environments: urban structure meets the wonders of nature meets the home.

It's impressive: First, there's the five-metre-high entrance area, in which a metal construction forms both a delicate shelving system and an objet d'art. From the ceiling hang matt-black Caravaggio lights; at eye level, open and closed wooden boxes are the presentation surfaces and storage containers for footwear. An extra-long bench of light brown upholstered leather rests in the centre of the room; flooring of light oak parquet connects the entrance with the second room. The elongated floor plan leads customers almost intuitively through the space; blocher shops placed a floor-to-ceiling, backlit graphic image of a lush-green forest in the centre of the store, to aid in visual orientation. The forest scene pays an impressive visual homage to the theme of nature. Customers – flanked by a sweeping staircase that leads to the storeroom on the first floor, and by a gallery with family photos – make their way through a open-worked, anthracite-coloured monolith. Along the way, they pass three birch logs that add an authentic touch to the nature motif.

In the second room, rear walls in shades of grey or wood panelling represent the diversity of flora. Furnishings here include storage boxes of black, powder-coated metal. One can't help noticing the shelves attached to tree trunks, as well as the shoe-testing track with three different fields of stone and wood flooring. In front of this area is the same bench furnishing as in the first room, an element connecting the two spaces. The cashier features an oak surface with an applique of black metal and a concrete-style back wall, on which the Bär logo is visible. A kind of "home environment" under an inserted wooden framre completes the world of Bär: It features comfortable seating (also of upholstered leather) and a carpet underfoot. With another large-scale forest image in the background, it's just the spot to reflect on one's impressions, over a cup of coffee.

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