et al. collaborative has recently designed a new boutique shoe and sneaker shop for Alumni, formerly Rugged Sole.
Alumni co-owner, Gene Han, commissioned et al. collaborative to redesign the new concept for the Crown Heights Brooklyn location for the recent rebranding of the store. Envisioning the Utica store as an anchor in the community, et al. was tasked with designing a flexible, safe, family-centered space that would serve as a positive influence on the surrounding neighborhood.
After consulting with Han, et al. focused the initial design through a lens of community empowerment. "We didn't want to put the sneakers behind glass cases, or in locked displays as some store might," explained Manu Garza of et al. collaborative.
"Instead we developed a system that merges design with flexibility catered to the needs of the store, visibility catered to the consumer and security necessary for any retail environment. The flexible displays give the client an ability to maximize curation of stock daily, weekly, or seasonally; while allowing the consumer to interact with merchandise."
The completed renovation was organized using two types of display systems; each custom designed specifically for the merchandise it displays. Apparel and hats are neatly arranged in gridded shoe display systems that flank white birch plywood panel walls.
Shoes and sneakers are organized within the flexible white laquered wooden peg dowel system to allow the promotion of particular designs on a given day. With a capacity of 700+ shoes, it gives the client an ability to display as much or as little merchandise as they desire. A series of cubes with various dimensions displays more merchandise along the center, these cubes double as seating areas for customer to try on shoes.