Dezeen Magazine

Exterior image of the Balenciaga Berlin store

Balenciaga designs concrete Berlin store to reference the city's modernist architecture

Fashion brand Balenciaga has opened its first retail location in Berlin, which continues the brand's Raw Architecture aesthetic and boasts monolithic concrete slabs and distressed surfaces.

Located in Charlottenberg in western Berlin within the Grade II-listed Haus Cumberland building, the store occupies 296-square-metres across the ground floor.

In sharp contrast to the building's neoclassical exterior, the store's interior features Balenciaga's Raw Architecture concept, which the brand introduced to its retail locations at the recent unveiling of its Sloane Street store in London.

Interior image of the Balenciaga Berlin store
Balenciaga decorated the store with a concept it describes as Raw Architecture

The Raw Architecture concept aims to produce an "unfinished" quality designed in juxtaposition to retail's typically refined surroundings.

"The newly designed space continues Balenciaga’s Raw Architecture concept, which preserves and responds to existing sites, effecting an unfinished or in-progress quality, the roughness and nonconformity of which contradicts with a store’s mostly polished surroundings," said Balenciaga.

The stone facade of the Balenciaga Berlin store and its arched windows and awnings were adorned with the sans-serif Balenciaga logo. Inside, digital screens display the fashion house's campaign imagery and content.

Interior image of the Balenciaga Berlin store
Aged concrete panels reference the modernist history of Berlin

The floor of the store is blanketed in squared poured-concrete slabs that reflect the sidewalk paving outside.

Stained and cracked concrete panels cover the walls beneath a dropped ceiling, which was purposely left uncovered to expose the industrial facilities and century-old structure it is intended to conceal above.

Balenciaga explained that it used aged and distressed concrete in an effort to "echo Berlin's modernist architecture legacy".

Mirrored glass, grey curtains and aluminium shelving cover the walls in front of and between the aged concrete, while thin metal clothes railings add a touch of delicacy, yet underline the store's industrial setting.

Walls have a cracked and distressed look at the Balenciaga Berlin store
The store uses aged materials and furnishings

"Heavily aged hanging bars add to a reduced material palette and survey of elements representative of varying eras, at once emphasizing the vastness of their space and the complexity of urban experience," said the fashion house.

The Raw Architecture aesthetic is carried over to the store's furnishings, with distressed, worn-leather seating placed in groups of four throughout the store to add to its decaying look.

Interior image of the Balenciaga store
The store is blanketed in concrete

In other recent Balenciaga news, the fashion brand transformed five former aviation fuel tanks at Tank Shanghai into couture salons draped in cream-coloured curtains.

During Paris Fashion Week in October 2021, Balenciaga made headlines with its Spring Summer 2022 collection, which included a short film featuring The Simpsons.

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The store has concrete walls