Snapshot: Hunter, known for their iconic boots and outdoor wear, has just opened the doors to their fantasy-inducing new London flagship store. Checkland Kindleysides brought the spirit of the outdoors to the urban setting with a design that bridges city life with a pastoral countryside.
“Surreal, graphic, and at times dreamlike, it’s a fantasy take on reality executed in a uniquely Hunter way,” says Checkland Kindleysides creative director Joe Evans. When you enter the new store you’ll first notice that a structure reminiscent of a modernized barn connects the front entrance with the rest of the store, something hinted at through the metallic agricultural architecture apparent in the windows. Light filters in through Douglass Fir rafters to give a simulated sense of sunlight after an imaginary downpour, creating a sort of narrative journey throughout the store. Boots, hats and other products playfully lay on tables shaped like puddles or hang just above them as if drying. The back of the barn features a gabion dry stone wall where Hunter’s Original Wellington Boots are showcased.
Clothes hang in an enclosed space that’s surrounded by clipped, vibrant green hedges to create a central area that looks like an English garden. Handmade green ceramic floors bring to mind a well-tended, lively lawn to complete the vibrant fantasy. Spacious, light and airy, the main area separates itself from fitting rooms by use of these illuminated, sculptural hedges, integrating the design of the area with function.
Scattered throughout the store are small barn-like “boot rooms” in which you can sit down and try on a pair of Hunter’s iconic rubber boots. Of course, they’ve added a headset in every one where you can listen to sounds of the outdoors to immerse yourself in nature. Little eccentric touches complete the playful style of the new flagship store together, making for an exciting experience that adds a sense of outdoors adventure to your stroll down London’s shopping district.
There’s also a downstairs that you can reach via lift (rural sounds and imagery included on the ride down). A change in scenery, the area is painted in bold red and white colors to appear as if dipped in rubber and includes a children’s area that’s just as playfully designed as the rest of the store.
As if to make the store feel as though it existed in another world outside of London, CK added illuminated spaces in between barn doors that hint to a bright, green vista outside. An “infinity forest” was created through use of illusion in the back of the room to make it seem as though there was an unending landscape of Douglas Firs just outside.
The Hunter flagship store is more than just fine outerwear shop; it’s an adventure that connects visitors to a fantastical, rural landscape thanks to the clever designs of Checkland Kindleysides.
Photography courtesy of Checkland Kindleysides