Before this SoHo retail space became a Sass & Bide’s New York flagship store, it was a gallery. Before that, it was a carpentry shop. When designer Kelvin Ho sat down to imagine the Australian brand’s new look, he drew inspiration from both.
First, the nod to carpentry: The store is filled with five floor-to-ceiling tree trunks inspired by the texture of found driftwood (one of the Sass & Bide founders collects it). Ho, along with Brooklyn-based design team The Guild, built the structures from steel frames before covering them with resin-soaked fabrics. “The methodologies proposed to create the tree ranged from sourcing real trees, to plaster molds, to fiberglass,” Ho tells Co.Design. It took rounds of prototyping (from Ho’s New York hotel room) to settle on the steel-and-resin combination. While the pieces themselves aren’t wooden, Ho was careful to leave the vintage timber floor as well as the tin ceilings and original pipework.
As for channeling a gallery vibe? Simple: Ho and his team painted the sculptural space all white. The result is a patchwork of texture that still lets Sass & Bide’s merchandise pop.
Ho and his agency, Akin Creative, have designed 20 Sass & Bide stores since 2005. He says this design was the most adventurous and gave him “the ability to challenge the conventions of retail.” After checking out Ho’s installation, head over to Donald Judd’s Spring Street apartment nearby.