I recently attended a lecture given by Peter Snadden, his talk was about Japanese culture such as Hello Kitty. As well as talking about Hello Kitty he also spoke about current retail spaces and how they could potentially change in the future. In particular there was the question of retail spaces crossing over into galleries. I remember reading 'The Value of Things' a number of years ago which spoke about the relationship of how museum's have heavily influenced the original department stores such as Le Bon Marche and later Selfridges and Harrods. In recent time places such as the Californian cafe/shop/art space ROYAL/T, which looks at the relationship between this even further. For somewhere closer to home there is Dover Street market in London's Mayfair area. All of these were used as examples to show how the retail space is more and more becoming an experiential space that is not always obviously about selling 'kit'.
I was particularly interested though in the really challenging idea of those spaces that are even more obscure or indeed temporary. In a previous article I spoke about pop up stores and it is this idea of temporary and also the idea of pet architecture which was introduced to me for the first time through the lecture that really intrigues me. Pet architecture is a really fun study of buildings that have 'grown' or 'chiseled' or 'fitted' into what many people would see as hugely built up areas. I will try and post a few images to demonstrate the idea in a future post. A very interesting piece of news I came across a few days ago, it made me think even further of what is a retail space. The above image is from Austrian Outfitters Northland Professional who produced a series of billboards that had samples of there clothing range attached to them. Each day the samples were replaced and the campaign took place of a period of a month. the idea is interesting on a number of levels. Firstly what has become known as tryvertising and trying before you buy also in this case the item can be kept and even passed on. For me I was interested how the billboard had almost for that month become a shop front for the company. A retail place if you like.