Ringo Studio positions sex toys in athletic-themed room at Contact Sports
Brooklyn-based Ringo Studio has reimagined the experience of shopping for sex toys, creating a store in New York modelled on a collegiate locker room.
The Contact Sports shop on Mercer Street in Soho is designed to feel very different to the typical spaces in which products for sex are purchased.
"In a survey conducted before launch, the majority of people reported feeling uncomfortable walking into a sex store," said the brand's founders, Justin and Chelsea Kerzner. "Uninviting exteriors felt intimidating, the aisles were hard to navigate, and the shelves stocked hundreds of products that were hard to decipher."
Working with Ringo Studio founder Madelynn Ringo – who has designed retail spaces for Glossier, Bala and Our Place – the brand devised a shopping experience based around sport, and used cues from this world to inform the interiors.
The retail space includes an area at the front that sells long-stem roses in singles or bundles, including a 15-foot (4.5 metre) wall on which the fresh-cut red flowers are stored.
Beyond, dark walnut panelling, brass rails and shelves, and green cushions give the store a collegiate atmosphere, while mosaic floor tiles and baskets of towels evoke a locker room.
Vintage sporting ephemera like tennis rackets, boxing gloves and American football helmets are displayed on higher shelves.
Below, the selection of "entry-level gear and sensual gifts" from brands such as Kiki de Montparnasse, Lelo, Dame, Maude, Future Method and more are merchandised in locker-style cubbyholes.
"Contact Sports flips the traditional model on its head and takes a more curated approach, stocking only 70 products at launch," the founders said.
"Their team spent more than a year vetting a category that includes tens of thousands to offer only the best of the best, with unexpected touches that enhance the full experience around the sport."
The space is illuminated from above by a light box behind a wooden lattice, while softer lighting is installed in the cubbies.
An iconic chair shaped like a giant baseball mitt by designers Jonathan de Pas, Donato D'urbino and Paolo Lomazzi sits next to the white counter, above which the brand's cursive logo glows in neon.
The sex toy industry has grown significantly in recent years, as taboos have broken and social acceptance has widened. See some of the most unusual sex toys featured on Dezeen.
However, "the retail experience itself had yet to evolve," said the Contacts Sports team, which hopes the store will change how shopping for sex gear should look and feel.
The photography is by Anna Morgowicz.