Birkenstock just opened a showroom in Paris, and I would like to move in, if it isn’t too much trouble.
The space is designed to look like a home—complete with a home office, fireplaces, and a dining room—which makes my plan to relocate even more convenient. The latest Birkenstock styles are inconspicuously laid about, a green pair ever so casually sitting on a shelf, a blue pair lying on a wooden chair. This is great, because I already have a tendency to lovingly admire my rather large collection of Birkenstocks throughout the day. (Is it weird that I have one pair of Gizeh sandals for everyday wear, and one with shinier leather to wear with fancy outfits? Never mind, don’t answer that question.)
But besides living out my dream of being surrounded by orthopedically sound footwear with good arch support, the Birkenstock showroom is a wonder of minimal, earthy interior design. The London-based design studio Vinson & Co was hired to create the interiors. The space is filled with a combination of new and vintage furniture, most of which is made of wood and organic materials that all fit seamlessly together. There’s a 1940s folding glass and oak bar cart; armchairs made in 1954 in Chandigarh, India; carpets made of rush fiber; and ceramics designed by Swiss artist Margit Linck from the 1950s. Everywhere you look, your eyes are met with a palette of creams and browns. There are paintings created by British embroiderer Geraldine Larkin made from jute and felt fabrics, which are blue, cream, and gray.
It all feels very relaxing and soothing, like an architectural manifestation of your foot being cradled by a Birkenstock cork footbed. I mean, who wouldn’t want to live here forever?
This space is called Birkenstock 1774, for the year that the company was founded. It is located in Rue Saint Honoré, which is where many luxury boutiques are located, but rather than being a regular retail store, it is a place for Birkenstock to show its special projects and collaborations. In recent months, the brand has partnered with fashion designers and brands as diverse as Rick Owens, Valentino, and Opening Ceremony.
But a glimpse of the showroom makes it clear that Birkenstock isn’t trying to highlight its chops as a brand favored by the fashionable and famous. Instead, the space focuses on the brand’s heritage and the craftsmanship of the products, which parallels the historical and artisanal furnishings. If Birkenstock is a lifestyle brand, then the way of life it represents is one focused on self-care and appreciating the natural world.
Those are both things I can get behind. Now, Birkenstock, when can I move in? Also, would you like me to bring my own Gizehs, or can I just wear the ones on-site?