External Reference designs the next frontier for experiential sneaker retail in Dubai
Built within the world’s largest luxury sneaker store, Presentedby is an experiential space for consignment footwear and streetwear designed by External Reference.
An ever-growing number of retail locations are being refashioned as product galleries to appeal to consumers who expect an experience while they shop. With Presentedby Dubai, External Reference saw an opportunity to create such an interior utilizing technology. In addition to its Dubai store, the emerging brand has posts in London, Paris and Doha, with two to come in Rijad and Mexico City. As the designers for each of these spaces, the team at External Reference seeks to draw parallels between the unique urban cultures with Presentedby’s values. The latest Presentedby, located at the ground floor of The Dubai Mall’s enormous Level Shoes, achieves this through an interactive exhibition format.
3D-printed elements and audiovisual media play an important role in the shop. It is split into three spaces: the apparel and purchasing areas with the highlight being the experience room – what the studio describes as being like a ‘mini sneakers museum’. Immediately a customer is drawn in to the store by a double funnel-shaped entrance lined with screens displaying digital art; movement-responsive media is also projected on the walkway. Sneakers are displayed diagonally on white 3D-printed lattice walls – for these structures, the designers took inspiration from the printing methods and parameters utilized for shoe production by brands today. They are formed with an advanced polymer incorporated with Wearpure, a 100 per cent natural mineral compound which has properties to mineralize primary greenhouse gases and reduce volatile organic compounds. As a result of this use, Presentedby Dubai absorbs 38 kg of CO2 per year.
‘When we designed the Dubai store we knew that we weren’t just designing another store,’ says Carmello Zappulla, architect and newly named Presentedby chief creative officer. ‘We were creating a concept without precedents: a concentrate of innovation where art and design produce the next destiny of the sneaker community.’