Date: 2018
Status: Completed
Category: Retail/Commercial
Size: 4,000 s.f.
Team: Chris Leong, Dominic Leong, Chris Lee, Marki Becker, Yu-Hsiang Lin, Jessie Baxa, Gabriel Burkett
Collaborators: Charles Hemminger Associates, Everlane, Coffman Engineers, MHC Engineers, ACI, Ohio Design, Arnold and Egan, B+N Industries

The design for Everlane’s second brick-and-mortar flagship store in San Francisco’s Mission district rethinks the future of retail space and is the result of a year-long collaboration between Leong Leong and the direct to consumer apparel brand.

The original inspiration for the San Francisco store was a contemporary art fair. Thinking of the retail environment as an art fair helped to design an experience that integrates the display of product with content and storytelling moments in a very curated way. As a metaphor for contemporary retail design, the idea of an art fair represents the increasingly blurred boundary of culture and commerce and allows for experiences that inspire a sense of curiosity.

Leong Leong’s design for the 4,000 square foot flagship transforms an existing warehouse space with exposed wood joists into an open and airy environment washed with natural light from large skylights. To create a more direct visual connection between the interior and the street, Leong Leong opened the storefront with large pieces of structural glass. The store’s primary design elements are a series of modular displays that are wrapped in white perforated metal, running the length of the space. Following the art fair reference, the display system creates a meandering series of spaces for different product stories along the customers’ journey.

For an e-commerce brand like Everlane, creating an intimate encounter with clothing is vital. Leong Leong designed the fitting rooms as little chapels with huge skylights to celebrate the experience of trying on clothes, allowing customers to see and feel themselves in natural daylight. The fitting rooms are intentionally positioned along the entire length of the store so that customers can easily transition from the sales floor to trying-on clothes. Exploring the social aspect of trying-on clothes with the Everlane team, Leong Leong created threshold spaces that allow for casual interaction action between customers.

Leong Leong also studied how the overall brand strategy could apply to physical space with Everlane’s in-house experience team, identifying unique opportunities to challenge the assumptions of retail design today. This process resulted in the creation of a simple but considered environment that utilizes “soft” technology to leverage the seamlessness of online shopping in the physical space of a store. The use of technology enhances customers’ experience and understanding of products as a way to breaks-down barriers in addition to creating meaningful interactions between staff and customers.