Sumit Singhal loves modern architecture. He comes from a family of builders who have built more than 20 projects in the last ten years near Delhi in India. He has recently started writing about the architectural projects that catch his imagination.
House of pertijs in Breda, The Netherlands by Concrete Architectural Associates
September 13th, 2013 by Sumit Singhal
Article source: Concrete Architectural Associates
HOUSE OF PERTIJS – WATCHES AND JEWELLERY CONCEPT STORE
‘House of Pertijs’ has its roots in a traditional family-owned watch and jewellery store in the Dutch city of Breda, where clients were treated more like friends than customers. To create more customer flow, the owner of the store came up with a new vision: nowadays luxury is not merely about watches and jewellery, but also about lifestyle and its related high-end products. Why not combine these different product groups in one store? The idea of a watch and jewellery concept store was born.
DESIGN STORY / NARRATIVE
The design concept of the House of Pertijs was to build a store offering a total luxury and lifestyle experience combined with the welcoming and warm feeling you get from a home. Feeling at home enhances the owner’s philosophy to treat customers like friends and therefore the metaphor of a traditional ‘house shape’ was used as the starting point for the interior design. Pure white surfaces create the image of being inside a house in an abstract way. Not only the angular ceiling but also typical functions give the customer the sense of visiting friends at home. Sales talks can take place at the freestanding kitchen, on the sofa in the living area or in the more intimate private ‘dining’ room.
The second objective of the design concept was to ensure that the watches and jewellery remain the customer’s main focus. In former times, gold was associated with luxury. Many things have changed since then, but this old metaphor still applies. By creating display cabinets in the form of an oversized gold bar, the familiar atmosphere and more traditional appearance of the old watch and jewellery store could be recreated in the new loft-like retail space.
The gold bar is a unique piece of furniture, drawing attention to the products (watches and jewellery) showcased inside. Besides its quality as showstopper, when the store is closed the gold bar acts as a ‘safe’. Nine individual display cabinets can be pushed up against each other and locked. By creating this ‘safe’, most of the products can remain in the display cabinet, as there is no longer any need to deposit them in the regular safe.
Customers enter the store in the centre of the façade through charcoal grey double leaf panel doors which are always open as a welcoming gesture. After two steps, they reach the actual glass entrance door. The first part of the store is defined by a white ‘house shape’ which is slightly set back from the façade to experience the front view of the ‘house shape’. At the end of the first house, a second lower white house stacks into the back wall of the first house.
The outline of the second house is highlighted with a LED line which gives a glow on the back wall. After entering the store, customers can explore the first five gold bar display cabinets on the left-hand side and sit down in the living area of the house. On the right-hand side, four functions are lined up, starting with a book store, a coffee counter with bar table, the cash register with a back drop of real dollar notes and a white steel spiral staircase leading up to the store’s offices.
All the functions are designed as black cut outs within the white ‘house shape’. Along the right-hand wall, with its specific functions, there are several display tables on which to present lifestyle products. The display tables are of varying heights and made of different materials and can either be combined to create small islands or be used as freestanding items. Both gold bar cabinets and low display tables invite the customer to stroll deeper into the store where the space becomes lower and narrower to enhance the intimacy. On the right-hand side of the second house, promotional space is situated in a four metre wide cut out within the white husk.
On the left, the gold bar cabinet continues and tables are placed in between two display cabinets to create an intimate space for selling valuable products like watches and jewellery. Two corner windows within the white ‘house shape’ allow a glimpse of the workplaces of the goldsmith and watchmaker. The end of the store is defined by a series of four double-leaf, fully glazed terrace doors leading to a small, private backyard. Both the kitchen (the heart of every house), and the dining room (the most intimate space within the store) face the backyard and benefit from plenty of daylight falling into these spaces.
The gold bar display cabinet stands out as a special feature within the interior of House of Pertijs. Besides its conceptual
value, safety function and time advantage, the materialisation makes this piece of furniture a showstopper on its own. The entire surface of the gold bar is finished with varnished gold leaf. Typical gold bar text combined with the name of the store is ‘embossed’ on one of the two end pieces. The nine individual cabinets slide in 20 metre long recessed rails.
When all the cabinets are pushed together, the oversized gold bar measures 2.0 metres wide, 5.4 metres long and 2.0 metres high. The individual cabinets resemble slices of a cake, whereby the icing of the cake is formed by a 5 cm thick gold leaf finish and the cut surface is upholstered in beige Alcantara (artificial suede leather), padded and stitched together to create a diamond pattern. At eye level, glass showcases are integrated into each ‘slice’. Customers look through the showcases and therefore products are displayed two-sided. The inner surfaces of the showcases are again upholstered in beige Alcantara and all the cases are individually lit by recessed halogen spots.