Unknown Union by Rafael de Cárdenas

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Unknown Union by Rafael de Cárdenas

Designer Rafael de Cárdenas of New York created the interior of this Cape Town menswear store Unknown Union with shelving in clashing colours that fade into each other.

Unknown Union by Rafael de Cárdenas

Located in an 18th century building in central Cape Town, the store features a series of multicoloured storage boxes, columns and shelves with an ombré finish.

Unknown Union by Rafael de Cárdenas

Exposed fluorescent tube lights are arranged in patterns on the ceiling and used to create a feature chandelier.

Unknown Union by Rafael de Cárdenas

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Unknown Union by Rafael de Cárdenas

Photographs are by Inge Prins.

The following is from the designer:


Unknown Union: Cape Town's Newest Men's Boutique Designed by Rafael de Cárdenas

Cape Town, South Africa – New York-based architect and interior designer Rafael de Cárdenas of Architecture At Large has designed Cape Town’s newest men’s store, Unknown Union (UU). Headquartered in an 18th century historic building in the heart of Cape Town, UU is an international collective and hub for creativity featuring an global roster of fashion collections exclusively available in Africa at UU. Brands represented include ANYthing, Pendleton, Surface to Air, and Penfield USA, among others.

Seeking an alternative to the dark and leathery designs so prevalent in menswear boutiques, de Cárdenas has created a vibrant kaleidoscopic environment to showcase the wears of UU's owners and curators, Sean Shuter and Daniel Jackson. The two levels feature a maze of multi-colored ombré finished shelving in vivid teals, greens, yellows and pinks, grounded by warm terra cotta tile floors and white walls. The ceiling is web of fluorescent lights, a trademark of de Cárdenas, with dramatic chandelier extension. These punctuate the network of shelving units – stacked cubes of various height and width configurations – providing depth and visual interest in unexpected ways.

The second level of the store, accessible by a high-gloss white spiral staircase, is home to an ever-changing environment of and pop-up boutiques featuring artist and designer installations – a project and idea space for both local and international creators. To mark the official opening of Unknown Union, Shuter and Jackson are offering a limited edition series of T-shirts created exclusively for the event. Featured artist collaborators include Rafael de Cárdenas/Architecture at Large, Gazelle, Surface to Air, Milkbeard, Cornrow Rider and THECAST.

24 Kloof Street, 8008 Cape Town, South Africa.


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  • http://www.cinnhotels.com Noida Hotels

    Nice interior Designs. The color combination are very good of designs.

  • http://www.thedisgruntledarchitect.wordpress.com thedisgruntledarchitect

    I am not a huge fan of the colors; however the design is certainly effective and achieves the intent, to blur the space and the shelves into each other. Interesting experiment in colors and gradients, I would never have guessed that would be the result. Thanks for the post!

  • http://architectcapetown.bestseo.co.za/ Architect Cape Town

    Oh its nice combination of colors i love that.An alternative to the dark and leathery designs.