Max Lamb surrounds Opening Ceremony boutique
with "lustrous" latex rubber curtains


British designer Max Lamb has used latex curtains and London Underground railings inside a new east London boutique for fashion brand Opening Ceremony (+ slideshow).

Opening Ceremony Shoreditch boutique by Max Lamb

Max Lamb was tasked with providing enough display area for Opening Ceremony's merchandise in the small, awkwardly shaped space on Shoreditch High Street.

"The aim was to fit as much product in to the space as possible without it becoming overly cluttered," Lamb told Dezeen. "I wanted to give an illusion that it was much bigger than it actually is."

Opening Ceremony Shoreditch boutique by Max Lamb

He covered three sides of the room with a floor-to-ceiling latex curtain to "invite the question that there might be something behind it".

The curtain serves to hide the concrete walls and service wires, as well as incorporate a fitting room and storage space. "Latex rubber was chosen because of the way that it hangs," said Lamb. "It has this soft, absorbing, lustrous feel."

Opening Ceremony Shoreditch boutique by Max Lamb

The material is formed into vertical ripples that continue to the floor, aiming to draw attention to the height of the space rather than the small footprint.

Opening Ceremony Shoreditch boutique by Max Lamb

A continuous clothes rail suspended from the ceiling is made from the same custom-bent steel tubes used as handrails on London Underground trains and painted the same bright blue as used on the Victoria Line.

"It wasn't a conscious decision to make it that colour," said Lamb, "but at the same time it was a reference that I couldn't ignore, using the same materials and producer as the Underground rails."

Opening Ceremony Shoreditch boutique by Max Lamb

Circling the store, the rail meanders up at various points to make way for the entrance door and allow access to the changing room. "It serves as a window display for clothing, eliminating the need for mannequins because the space isn't big enough for them," Lamb said.

The rail is suspended from the ceiling to provide additional display space around the edge of the floor. To lift shoes and bags off the ground, Lamb created plinths from polystyrene offcuts that he sprayed with peach-coloured rubber.

Opening Ceremony Shoreditch boutique by Max Lamb

More display space for smaller products is provided by a steel ladder, with shelves that can slide up and down two tubes and be locked into place with pegs. A slab of red Welsh sandstone, sanded by hand on the top, forms a low stone table in the centre of the space.

The service counter is made from a stack of sheets of glass that Lamb stuck together himself with silicone sealant, which he also rubbed over the inside surfaces with his fingers.

Opening Ceremony Shoreditch boutique by Max Lamb

"The same silicone served as the masking material to whiteout the glass, like the whitewash you'd see on the facades of shops when they're being renovated," said Lamb.

The London-based designer had seven weeks to complete the design, which has an indefinite life span as the pop-up currently has no closing date. He chose durable materials that could last as long as need, but elements can also be easily removed and reused.

Opening Ceremony Shoreditch boutique by Max Lamb

Along with Opening Ceremony's menswear and womenswear collections, the store will host garments by a range of emerging designers and well-known brands.

Photography is by Jamie McGregor Smith.

  • Douglas

    Aesthetically innovative. Thank goodness someone is doing something that dares to deviate from the prevailing glut of cafés, boutiques, and bars sporting the contrived authenticity look; galvanised steel shop fittings, Another Country-style chairs, industrial light pendants etc.

    • dan

      Innovation is good, but I don’t think there’s anything very appealing about the space, which may also smell a bit rubbery. There’s an intentional disharmony of the elements of course, but whilst one or two of them might have been nice on their own, I don’t feel it really works collectively. I guess that suits Opening Ceremony though.

  • douglas montgomery

    I see your point. For example, the shelving in the middle of the floor is a bit jarring and could have been constructed from the blue scaffolding. However, I think the individual elements work well enough to make it more interesting than styles currently repeated ad nauseum elsewhere. I think I could tolerate the smell – assuming it’s evident.

  • Good concept.