Kymyka shoes and bagsMaastricht 2009
Shoe design on a pedestal
Two patches of stainless steel rods, perched on top of which are artistic shoes, like colourful butterflies;an all-in-one wall unit of cupboards surrounding the space,intriguing and stylish:The signature style of Maurice Mentjens, responsible for the interior design of this exclusive shoe shop in Maastricht.
Jimmy Choo, Dolce en Gabbana, Yves Saint Laurent, Theory, Giuseppe Zanotti Design, Etro, Missoni, Luciano Padovan, Dsquared, Stella McCartneyand of course Christian Louboutin, the favourite brand of young urban professional women:Kymyka shoes and bags in Maastricht specialises in the world’s most exclusive brands,supplemented with matching accessories from a cooperation with D-queens, Kymyka-D-queens. Belts, bags, small leather articles and a modest selection of jewellery. Such a top collection needs similarly top-class presentation. The client therefore wanted an understated, modern shop with a sophisticated character.
The shop space on Minckelersstraat covers the ground floor of two city residences, the wall between which has been broken through, with a mirror-image floor plan. The houses were built at the beginning of the last century. Authentic original elements still in place include the plasterwork ceilings and two chimneys. One building still has the original windows; the other building was fitted with a large, low-silled display shop front in the 1970s.
Mentjens used the vertical lines of the premises as the basis for the structure of the design. The column that has replaced the partition wall stands exactly on the intersection of the floor plan. The steel supporting beam has been covered from floor to ceiling with mirrors. From this point, you can see the entire shop space through the mirrors. The two chimneys can be used as mirrors for customers trying on shoes. Since only the bottom 90 cm are covered in mirrors, these heavy structural features seem to float in space.
The central presentation is – literally – borne up by two areas of steel tubes. They act as fragile pedestals on which the mainly high-heeled shoes are displayed like exalted treasures,svelte and elegant, like the potential clientele. The construction is as simple as it is ingenious. The tubes themselves are firmly anchored in a fixed grid in the sprung floor. The shoes are attached using strong magnets.
This display has an extra “layer” in addition to its function as a podium for shoe design as an art form. It is also a kind of monument to the memory of one of the initiators of Kymyka, who never saw the opening of “his” shop. The tubes, in different lengths, symbolise alter candles, and offer insiders a moment of comfort.
The space is entirely enclosed by low, multi-functional console tables. All the shop functions are contained in these:storage space and display cases, as well as cut-out seats and technical facilities such as the meter cupboard and heating. Only the sales counter itself protrudes into the space like a peninsula.
Another regular set of beams has been placed above the wooden console tables,a kind of minimalist wall frame forming the transition to the neo-baroque plasterwork that decorates both ceilings. These beams also embrace the room, and – through their linear simplicity – keep the irregular shape of the floor plan together, as it were. It is a surprisingly powerful design element that also has a functional side. The beams run right along the windows as well and make ideal display shelves for smaller items such as shoes and bags. The walls, ceiling and beams have been painted in the same colour and thus create a tranquil atmosphere.
All interior elements – including the wooden console tables – are tailor-made. During the layout phase, careful attention was devoted to ergonomic details such as the opening direction of the cupboard doors, the correct seat height for trying on shoes, and even the accessibility of the concealed wiring. The plinth of the console tables is set back slightly, giving the console tables a slimmer look.
The light fittings on the ceiling were also designed in Maurice Mentjens’ own studio especially for Kymyka. Each chandelier consists of a ring of 9 halogen lamps and is suspended from the antique central ceiling ornament by thin steel wires. The lamps can be turned and tilted in all directions and can therefore be turned to light up all walls, console tables and tube patches,in every product arrangement imaginable. The light reflection is reminiscent of a halo, adding a little extra mystical feel. This is the renowned signature style of Maurice Mentjens.