Paf Atelier’s spatial concept for the label’s anticipated Paris showroom comprises a carefully planned, agile merchandising landscape.

Key features

The studio aims to contemporize the iconic footwear brand’s visual identity by using a variety of bold geometric objects as ‘tools of spatial composition’, pictured here in Birkenstock’s manufacturing workshop. Planning for a future showroom space not for consumers but shoe professionals, mobile modules have been constructed from oak and metal for the building blocks for display. Each vertical structure highlights a featured product, and further functions to ‘arrange the space from top to bottom’, as the designers explain. Meanwhile, horizontal wooden planes showcase entire collections, intentionally presented at foot height. The painted wood elements are texturally complemented by steel, cork and bricks, nods to Birkenstock’s material heritage. 

Frame’s take

From Jacquemus and Louis Gabriel Nouchi to Nike, Paf Atelier has taken on work for some of the hottest names in the Paris fashion scene since its establishment five years ago. Interviewed for Frame 143, founding architect-scenographer Christopher Dessus told us that the young studio starts talking about ‘production design from the very start’. ‘To work sustainably, we try to bring design and production more closely together, from the choice of materials to the way a project is assembled,’ he explained. In an era of retail that heavily relies on experience and tactile engagement, taking a scenographic approach to spatial design – as Dessus asserts – is a great way to physically bring a brand to life. Especially so for a label like Birkenstock, which is eschewing its traditional image to appeal to today’s consumers.