Norm Architects has recently completed the full refurbishment and dynamic reconceptualizing of the menswear section of German department store Alsterhaus in Hamburg. In order to compete in today’s world of online shopping, a physical space must nurture and engage the user. The architecture, furniture and materiality all work to create a sensible experience which you can’t experience from a tablet or smartphone.
Today, Alsterhaus in Hamburg covers 24,000 square metres in an exclusive atmosphere comprising a historic structure and modern interior design. By adopting a tectonic approach to space, the menswear department of Alsterhaus provides a unity of different universes, each with its own expressions and materials.
“We had a dynamic, tailored approach to each space,” explains Sofie Thorning, Senior Architect and Associate Partner of Norm Architects. “For example there is a notably domestic scale and sensibility to the fitting rooms; an embracing warmth. This con- trasts to the other areas in the store and in turn adds to the experiential quality of each user’s visit.”
A quiet, considered approach to signage and lighting means that both act as simple and rational space defining features. Extensive custom display units and furniture pieces ensure that all elements present within the space work and is created to complement one another. Here the architecture is naturally linked to both the program and function of space as well as the aesthetic palette.
Each brand has its own shop front, facing onto central town squares which both guide and define the user journey while helping express each brand. Merchandising and furniture pieces providing key elements which substanti- ates sentiments of the different zones in the the store.
“This balance between richness and restraint affords the user a unique and engaging shopping experience, relying on a considered quality of materiality and space,” continues Sofie Thorning.
Inspired by classic modernist works by Mies Van Der Rohe and Adolf Loos, the resulting spaces has a simple and restrained approach. The architecture is pure with focus on material form and texture. The details from the various product ranges and departments creates a synergy between the space and the products which inhabit them.