Dezeen Magazine

Berlin's Cold War memorial referenced in cross-shaped display at Seoul eyewear shop

A white steel cross encased by glass forms a display for spectacles at this shop in Seoul's Gangnam district by local studio Nordic Bros Design Community (+ slideshow).


Retrokit Cross is an eyewear concept store opened by fashion brand Retrorocket within Cafe Alver, a coffee shop in a busy commercial area close to Gangnam Station.


The shop's interior was designed by local interiors and design office Nordic Bros Design Community (NBDC), which has previously created another cafe in the city with a yellow house-shaped facade and a baking school with a kitchen and office hidden behind translucent polycarbonate screens.


Retrokit Cross is Retrorocket's third store in Seoul and is situated at the rear of the cafe, where a glass wall with a large opening separates the two spaces.


At the centre of the room is a display for spectacles and sunglasses that references Berlin's Weisse Kreuze memorial. The white crosses dedicated to those who died during the Cold War at the Berlin Wall left an impression on the client when he visited the German capital.


The cross is made from white-painted steel and topped with neon strip lights. A glass case follows the shape of the cross and provides a surface on which the products are arranged.


For the rest of the interior, NBDC chose to use the room's existing features as a backdrop for presenting the brand's products, which include eyewear, clothes and bags.


"Retrokit is an eyewear concept store that took its motif from a variety of needs situated at their extremes, such as various cultures, past and future, and reverse and advance," said designer Yong-Hwan Shin.

The design draws on the underwater exploration theme applied at one of the brand's earlier outlets in the Hannam neighbourhood.


"A submarine was used as the artwork theme for the Retrokit Hannam branch," the designer told Dezeen, "and we wanted to provide a connection between that space and Retrokit Cross."


In the Gangnam shop, thick ropes suspended from pulley-like fixtures continue the maritime motif. Bags are hung from simple carabiner clips, while bare crowned light bulbs dangling from the ceiling extend the pared-back industrial theme.


Elements of the existing interior, including the wooden floor and giant pendant lamps, are incorporated into the simple and minimal design. A neon sign and white panels placed in front of the windows to focus attention on the products are the only other interventions.

Photography is by the architects.