Fashion gallery for Lisbon
Fashion store or art space? Sometimes it is hard to tell exactly – as in the case of this project in Lisbon by Berlin’s Gonzalez Haase AAS studio. From the center of the Old Town it is only a few minutes’ drive along the river bank to the mouth of the Tajo, past the container ports and industrial estates until, behind a bend in the road in the district of Marvila you arrive at an ensemble of somewhat aged office blocks and warehouses. The grounds seem abandoned. Especially on this hot Saturday morning in May it’s as good as inconceivable that the most experimental concept store in the Portuguese capital is supposed to have opened right here.
Only the flattering of a yellow, translucent stripped curtain in the wind indicates that something’s happening behind one large door to a warehouse that bears discovering. In fact, this is the home of the new Tem-Plate fashion store run by Rune Park and Robby Vekemans, both experts in luxury fashion and the brains behind the online shop of the same name that has just launched. At the entrance there’s a huge block of marble and behind it a store that bears testimony to a multi-faceted concept for the space and the materials. Pierre Jorge Gonzalez and Judith Haase have created an interior destined to present the fashion as if it were curated and part of a gallery: a white cube from floor to ceiling, flooded with white neon light to confront the bright sunlight outside somewhat. In the center: a ring-shaped railing and round that room partitions, counters and Venetian blinds.
”Fashion stores rarely survive the 7-year cycle on average. That's why we do without complicated, useless and expensive details, like it was usual in the luxury segment. We use affordable, simple materials that were not originally intended as finishes.“
The Berlin duo opted for plain building materials for the fit-out. We have the artistry of the architecture and design studio to thank for the fact that it all seems so sexy all the same – the designers have succeeded in combining different element to form something very high-grade. Thus, the chipboard profiles for the walls and furniture have all been left untreated and uncovered, while some surfaces are coated in places with silver insulation foil or with aluminum panels or yet again with panes of glass. In between them all there are wooden stools, seats and tables made of untreated sheet aluminum – its product code is still clearly legible – and a group of “Roly-Poly Dining Chairs” courtesy of British designer Faye Toogood. The administrative section of the Tem-Plate Store is separated from the shop by lightweight construction profiles that are clad with silver-grey twin-wall paneling that reaches almost to the ceiling, but not quite.
Precisely this sense of the unfinished, of a gallery, essentially reflects the thrust of the concept store, as it will exclusively present highlights and in part limited editions from the overall range available online – among others, labels such as Comme des Garçons, Jil Sander, Loewe, Maison Margiela, Moncler, Off-White, Raf Simons, Thom Browne or Yohji Yamamoto. Park and Vekemans certainly need not be worried about a lack of visitors. At present business is mainly done online. But Marvila is becoming a place-to-be, tourism having squeezed the creative industries out to the city limits. And Tem-Plate is thus in the best of company, with countless art and design studios as well as numerous private galleries its neighbors. A few hundred meters away a luxury residential projects that is the brainchild of Renzo Piano is also fast seeing the light of day. Meaning that the peace and quiet out here is not going to last long at all.