Rapha has previously only retailed online and through seven pop-up stores around the world, in areas including London, San Francisco, New York and Majorca.
David Hurren, Brinkworth director, says, ‘They’re an online business beginning to understand the importance of having a physical presence. They do very well as an online business but they’re a brand people want to experience it in other ways, so it’s brilliant for people to understand what it’s all about.’
The two-level space, which opens on 20 July, will feature a retail space, cafe, bar and socialising area where cycling enthusiasts can watch cycling events and film screenings, talks and other events. Brinkworth is currently unable to release images of the space.
Hurren says, ‘People can enjoy good food and drink while watching cycling. It’s a cycle club meeting place for enthusiasts.’
He adds, ‘Obviously it’s a luxury brand but that doesn’t mean we’ve gone down a luxury route. It’s more about reflecting what Rapha stands for as a brand: a mixture of design perfection and big technology mixed with their heritage of the golden years of bicycle road racing.’
According to Hurren, the interiors reflect the Rapha ‘no nonsense’ attitude, with assorted cycling ephemera such as jerseys and caps placed around the store. The imagery reflects that shown within Rapha’s quarterly publication, Rouler. The interior colour scheme uses white, grey, black and pink brand colours.
Hurren says, ‘The furniture is again very representative of the quality of the products. It’s all made of steel and wood: it’s about fitness for purpose and nothing extraneous, just like the bicycles. The bar itself is reminiscent of Parisian bars with a zinc bar top. It feels very much like a European café bar.’
Rapha Cycle Club opens on Soho’s Brewer Street this Friday. Following this, about ten further sites will open around the world, with the next scheduled to open in Melbourne by the end of the year.
Rapha was launched in 2004 by former Sapient marketing director Simon Mottram and Luke Scheybeler, who previously worked at Rufus Leonard and Sapient.