26 Aug 2020 • Retail
How outdoor lifestyle brand Snow Peak encourages a connection between interior and exterior in its London flagship
Atelier Kikuchi interpreted the Japanese company’s approach to design and engawa, a traditional architectural element in Japan, to express a harmony between indoors and out.
Reports have already been published recording how our outdoor behaviour has changed since the onset of COVID-19, and the impact the pandemic may have on future activity. Studies by the Leave No Trace Center for Outdoor Ethics in partnership with Pennsylvania State University found that recreationists will travel increasingly alone or in small groups, are staying closer to home than ever before and that high-risk activities – backpacking, rock climbing and the like – are being swapped for the less intensive, such as biking and gardening.
That doesn’t mean there is a lesser place for outdoor and lifestyle brands, however – one may even argue that more utilitarian garments and products typically offered by such brands will come into increasing favour, even temporarily, as people spend less time in-office and in social environments. In fact, post-March, buyers have been investing in their personal exterior spaces at unprecedented rates. Japanese company Snow Peak is evolving with these times, accommodating the varied needs of their consumer base: at the time of publication, an banner on its homepage advertises that it has got your kitchen covered ‘whether you’re hosting a backyard gathering or heading off for a weekend adventure’. Its products range from camp accessories to outdoor living and dining systems to apparel.
Those items are now available at Snow Peak’s newest flagship, a 400-m2 space located in London’s St James district. Local firm Atelier Kikuchi was briefed to reinforce a connection between the outdoors and indoors, referencing engawa – a traditional Japanese architectural element that serves as a threshold between the two environments. The practice was inspired by Snow Peak president Lisa Yamai’s approach to fashion design, ‘which interprets traditional utilitarian Japanese clothing, textural fabrics and natural craft processes into Snow Peak products’, as explains a spokesperson.
The retail environment is spread over three floors, with the functional spaces complemented by amenities including an in-store café and repair workshop. Oak elements and bespoke furniture are contrasted by display units forged from lacquer-coated hot-rolled steel– the industrial metalwork is a nod to Snow Peak’s heritage as its products have been made in Tsubame-Sanjo City since the 1960s, a region renowned for the craft. Walls are covered with a light textured paint evoking the sand walls customary to Japanese tea houses and temples. A timber staircase with steel balustrades connects the areas – the wood-clad basement is dedicated to demonstrating Snow Peak’s camping equipment while the ground and first floor display apparel and accessories.
Snow Peak St James reflects the cohesion between the interior and exterior in atmosphere too, encouraging a more intimate, hands-on experience for the consumer. ‘These individualized spaces help divide up a deep floor plan to create a more personal, domestic scale,’ continues the representative.