News: Matches open Wimbledon flagship store designed by MRA Architecture + Design

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Tom and Ruth Chapman, joint CEOs of MATCHESFASHION.COM, determined after 27 years in Wimbledon Village  the location of their first boutique to merge their further 3 small stores located in the area into one luxury shopping environment combining the digital and physical platforms of the business. With the appointment of MRA Architecture & Interior Design practice they set about designing a modern interior concept for the 320m² flagship store based on the brands ‘edit’ and modernist inspiration offered by Tom – who personally sourced specific mid-century furniture and suggested artists such as Donald Judd for reference to meet his aesthetic needs. 

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MRA interpreted MATCHESFASHION.COM’s ‘edit’ – their flair for finding exciting new designers and selecting the most beautiful pieces – as a form of collage. Anshu Srivastava, director at MRA, explains, ‘We felt that the way MATCHESFASHION.COM bring their unique selection of fashion into the lives of their customers, could be seen as a series of projections, through social and print media, from the internet to in-store. It’s a communication that we termed “digital to analogue”. These ideas led us to the work of artists such as Donald Judd and Christopher Bruno; we simply love their pure forms and manipulation of space. We explored sculptural projections in the design of the staircase, mid-floor pieces and the folded perimeter walls.’

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Srivastava continues, ‘In minimalist sculptural constructions, materiality becomes all important; the craftsmanship, attention to detail and simple palette of materials that typifies Judd’s work, for example, also became central themes of the new MATCHESFASHION.COM concept.’

An understated palette of materials, including terrazzo and toned timber veneer, blend seamlessly offering a neutral yet appealing backdrop against which to display a distinct range of garments.

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The ground floor focuses on contemporary denim, footwear and accessories. Here, the mid-floor furniture consists of generous and versatile display tables with pop colour elements. Twin hanging rails, one solid and the other in wireframe form, punctuate the spaces between.

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A dynamic terrazzo stone staircase – highlighted with aged brass details and lined with asymmetrically facetted birch veneer – links the lower and upper floors. Natural light floods from the skylight above to draw the customer onward, ensuring that the journey upstairs is open and inviting. Concealed lighting heightens the drama by emphasising the angles of the toned timber panelling. This manipulation of the space has resulted in a sophisticated and rich experience.

At the top of the staircase, a textured wall with brass highlights creates a striking backdrop for the mannequin podium feature. The stylised mannequins, minimal in appearance, complement the design.

Above the stair in the 7m long skylight, sculptural hanging screens have been designed with a gentle organic fluidity. These combine with suspended lighting to create a contemporary installation.

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In contrast to the ground floor, the first floor is fully carpeted to heighten the feeling of comfort and relaxation. International womenswear and menswear collections are displayed on continuous perimeter rails with a sculptural folded backdrop and Carrera marble plinths. Accessories are presented in finely finished display cases, which are cantilevered from the veneered stair balustrade. The folded backdrop motif is reprised in wireframe form in the toned brass hanging rails and table legs. The solidity of the marble table tops contrasts with the lightness of their bases. Moving past the staircase, clients enter the lounge area with its original 1960s Gio Ponti furniture and Sciolari chandelier. Here, they can explore the full MATCHESFASHION.COM edit online with iPads, browsing alone or with a sales consultant.

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Beyond the lounge area, the wireframe concept is repeated in the full-height brass screen, which incorporates a hanging rail to match the perimeter. This screen creates an intimate evening wear and fine jewellery area, while still allowing views across the first floor.

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Srivastava comments: ‘We are delighted to have worked with MATCHESFASHION.COM on the interior retail concept for their new Wimbledon boutique. The collaboration has been a fantastic experience that has resulted in a store environment which successfully captures the elegance, personality and attention to detail for which the client is renowned.’

In conjunction with the contemporary setting for the collection the brand explored new digital technology to create a unique user experience —  refreshingly the shop has no till, no queue, as payment is completely mobile enabled. Digital touch points enable online browsing with iPads, we think this is definitely the way forward for retail, do you?

MATCHESFASHION.COM / MRA Architecture & Interior Design


Images: Ed Reeve

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