Beauty retailer Space NK is opening its first Space NK Men store next month, with interiors by Universal Design Studio and in-store graphics by BibliothÃ¨que Design, Design Week can exclusively reveal.
The London flagship store will be the company’s first apothecary that caters solely for men and is due to open on Soho’s Broadwick Street in early May. Universal is collaborating closely with Nicky Kinnaird, founder and director of Space NK, and North breakaway BibliothÃ¨que on the design, which includes a 6m ‘testing bar’ in the centre of the store and a unisex treatment room at the back.
Universal, which designed Stella McCartney’s boutique in New York, has tried to create a relaxed shopping environment that is ‘streamlined, clear and intimate, without being femininely so’. Jonathan Clarke, director of Universal, says the inspiration for the design came from the old-style pharmacy, which had a long counter in the centre. The aim is to keep the rest of the space ‘a bit like a gallery’, where the customer can browse in peace without the worry of being approached by staff.
Clarke says, ‘We wanted to change the relationship between the customer and the sales staff, because men shop differently to women. It is key to us that men shouldn’t feel embarrassed about entering the store.’ He describes the interior as ‘like the inside of a car – masculine and shiny’.
A discreet passageway situated at the back of the store will link to a Space NK apothecary for women located next door, in order to allow men and women to move easily between them.
A spokeswoman at Space NK says, ‘We have always known that we have a really strong male following. Men are becoming much more discerning about what they choose to buy, so we are addressing this trend.’ The company declined to comment on whether it would be opening further Space NK Men stores in the future.
Space NK will be releasing a new range of products for men later this year, with packaging designed by BibliothÃ¨que.
Space NK history
â€¢ Set up by Nicky Kinnaird in April 1993
â€¢ First store opened in a former banana warehouse in Covent Garden
â€¢ Originally a lifestyle store complete with cafÃ©, selling clothes, accessories and beauty products
â€¢ Launched the apothecary as a stand-alone concept at the end of 1996
â€¢ Space NK grew its turnover by 12 per cent to £24m last year, but made a net loss of £800 000
â€¢ Space NK Men will stock more than 30 men’s grooming products, sourced from all over the world