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Shoe store Dune strides into New York

Fashion footwear brand Dune London has made its debut market in the US, opening a branch on Broadway in the heart of New York City. The store has been designed by London and Edinburgh agency Four-by-Two.

The brand made the move after identifying a gap in the affordable luxury shoe market in the New York market, with competitors mostly at the higher or lower ends of the price spectrum. A second New York branch of Dune is to follow at the historic World Trade Centre site.

Dune called for a strong, unisex store design to reach out to fashion-focused consumers and draw them into the store. Work was restricted because the store is located in an historic building protected by NYC’s Landmarks Preservation Committee.

The store’s period fascia was reinstated and preserved, but married with a contemporary open glass shopfront to allow clear views into the heart of the store.

Four-by-Two had investigated a fashion ‘catwalk’ approach, inverting the concept into a ceiling feature in UK stores, an approach repeated in New York. Magnets are used to hold shoes above the heads of the shoppers on a spray painted metal runway to create an irreverent and impactful effect.

“We asked ourselves the question ‘By exploring the gap between art installation, visual merchandising and store design, could the appeal of the shoe as heroine bridge the gap gap and provide a universal appeal: wowing females yet attracting males too,’” says Four-by-Two design director Karen Maxwell. “The answer seems to be ‘yes’.”

Areas of bright colour have been introduced to the store through seating and promotional graphics, with walls and ceilings left deliberately dark to ensure customers focus on the product – which is illuminated on long, linear shelving.

Timber floors contrast with the catwalk feature above, while large screens at the front and back of the store draw people in and keep them engaged while adding dynamism and movement.

Soon after opening in September 2014 the store was named Store of the Week by the New York edition of Time Out. “We are all very excited about opening our first US store and delighted that response has been exceptionally positive to both product and store design,” says Dune London head of VM and store development John Mooney.


Design: Four-by-Two

Local Architect: Archetype Design Studio

Mecahnical & Electrical Engineer: Jack Stone Engineers

General Contractor: Principal Builders Solutions

Fixtures: Visual Millwork & Fixture MFG

Flooring: Havwoods

Lighting: Solus Solutions and Lido Lighting

Seating: Be Seated