Last year Birkenstock debuted its Birkenstock Box, a mobile retail concept designed by Gonzalez Haase and featuring stacked freight containers, which act as blank boxes for the design whims of Birkenstock’s collaborators, ranging from Andreas Murkudis in Berlin to Barney’s New York. Now the Box is pitching up outside Rick Owens’ La Brea Avenue boutique in California.
‘Retail experiences must deliver the unexpected,’ says Birkenstock CEO Oliver Reichert. ‘The Box is about creating a holistic experience, a creative platform and meeting place where product and architecture interact.’
Rick Owens has raised the roof on Reichert’s immersive aim, overhauling the interior of the Birkenstock Box with organic elements inspired by ‘a Joseph Beuys temple’. The two-storey space features mirrored – and army felt blanket – lined walls, and is dotted with interior design objects, including ‘Prong Camel’ sculptures in foam, steel concrete and camel skin by Owens’ company Owenscorp. The Box also boasts Owens’ take on Birkenstock’s signature ‘Arizona’, ‘Madrid’ and ‘Boston’ styles in army felt, suede, leather and cow fur, complete with leather footbed lining.
‘I wanted to subtly corrupt their shape,’ Owens says. ‘I extended the sandals’ straps longer than is practical, and added more holes as a reverse embellishment.’ A range of his brand’s clothing has been specially created for the store, including idiosyncratic dropped-crotch shorts and draped jersey dresses. ‘My thoughts went to a sun-worshipping nudist colony,’ Owens says. ‘And robed figures in Cecil B DeMille epics. I’ll be wearing my Birkenstocks with cashmere jogging pants when I walk on the Adriatic Coast this summer.’