Mind Space

The next big thing in retail merchandising is here and it is … nothing.

At least that’s the thinking at the new Jil Sander Store in Soho, which, according to a story in Sunday’s New York Times magazine section, is stone, cold empty save for “a system of louvers that rotate at regular intervals to enclose the entire space in whiteness or open it up to reflected glimpses of the outside.”

It is the creation of Germaine Kruip, a Dutch artist, in collaboration with Raf Simons, creative director of Jil Sander, who thinks the time is right for a little bit of … nothing.

“I think it’s a form of luxury not to open the door and get hit over the head with a bag,” he says. So, you have to venture upstairs for that.

But will shoppers stop and appreciate the merchandising of nothingness? Or rush right upstairs to get to the merchandise? Or just turn around and leave, confused?

Raf plans to give “nothing” about six weeks, at which time he’ll start to play around with it, maybe adding some “mannequins … or even actual merchandise.” He says he sees the space as a “laboratorium” where he can try something new every month and a half or so.

“There’s been a lot of talk about the evolution of retail environments,” he says. “But to me it feels right to do something with space and light that breathes.”TM