BOXING CLEVER: The Birkenstock Box world tour continues apace. Following its European premiere in Berlin and U.S. launch in partnership with Barneys New York, the latest stop is Milan – just in time for fashion week.
The project involves a mobile retail concept created by architects Gonzalez Haase AAS, whereby a converted freight container is customized at each location in tune with a partnering store’s interiors concept. In this case, it’s the hip 10 Corso Como.
The Milan edition has been installed in Piazza XXV Aprile, a stone’s throw from the Corso Como store. Rectangular in shape, it features glass sides with aluminium ends recalling an airstream van. Kris Ruhs, the artist/designer behind Corso Como’s visual merchandising, has created the interiors in signature ink blot-style motifs.
The Box is a foray into guerrilla marketing for Birkenstock, according to chief marketing officer Yvonne Piu. “It gives us a new platform,” she said.
To celebrate the collaboration, Corso Como creative director Carla Sozzani has created six limited-edition designs for the classic Arizona sandal. Done in black and white, the printed iterations, which riff off Ruhs’ motifs, are all on display and available to buy inside the Box.
“It’s been so exciting to learn about creativity from other people,” said Piu. “We had never printed on our leather before, so this project really challenged us, as we weren’t sure if it was possible.”
Sozzani was also enamored with the results. “I love them,” she said. “I used to wear Birkenstocks a lot in my past, as they’re super comfortable, and you can wear them with socks.” Yes, socks and sandals has always been a Sozzani signature.
She loves the look of the Box itself, as well. “I was coming back from La Scala last night, and when I saw it,” she said. “I thought they should always have something there. It works really well, as the square often feels very empty, but this gives it life.”
The Box will remain in situ until Sept. 30, with the next stop likely to be Miami in December to coincide with Art Basel. 10 Corso Como is also venturing stateside. A New York store is slated for September 2018. The 22,220-square-foot space will be located in the old Fulton fish factory building by the Brooklyn Bridge.