AMERICAN APPAREL: COVENT GARDEN

UK, Westminster, London

- 2007

Design Team

Sean Karns, Darrick Borowski, Randy Plemel

Contractors

Primary Contractor: SAJO; Electrical: SES

Photography

David Churchill

American Apparel and JPDA scoured the Covent Garden’s small historic shopfronts for years looking for a space which reflects the company’s unique brand sensibility while accommodating the vast and constantly expanding product line. While no single shopfront was adequate, two adjoining spaces were deemed usable once the retail floor was expanded into the existing cellars. The patchwork historic nature of the space was embraced by exposing the existing brick walls in juxtaposition with new finishes, fixtures and merchandise.

In the course of bringing two different spaces together the major challenges revolved around creating a uniform retail space reflecting American Apparel’s brand sensibility. A major element was the insertion of a new powder-coated steel stair and balustrade, which combined with Tenant-supplied supergraphics funnels customers to the lower level retail area. Integrating American Apparel’s fixture system with the existing masonry structure presented a unique challenge. Through the playful use of powdercoated gridwall attached to the masonry with a custom painted steel structure, the irregular space was able to support the Client’s requirement for low-cost yet dense merchandising.

Special care was used to choose the final finishes throughout the space. Through distressed oak floors, exposed painted brick walls, and quirky colors, the typical American Apparel palette is ‘warmed up’ to create a more neighborhood-like feel. Through the use of low-cost materials and the exposure of the building’s original qualities, JPDA was able to translate American Apparel’s widely recognized brand into Covent Garden’s distinct neighborhood.

While other retailers have a "one size fit all" conception of design and space, JPDA takes pride in delivering a bespoke environment with the use of American Apparel’s kit of parts. The fusing of both American Apparel’s global brand and local sensibility translates into a unique experience in Covent Garden.