Location: London, United Kingdom
Project Year: 2019
Project Team: Christoph a. Kumpusch, Audrey Marie Dandenault, William Lee

VERV London is not only the largest and first gender-fluid fashion retailer in Europe, but an invitation to every passenger for a non-binary retail experience.

Located at a new urban heart in the U.K, the Borough of Hackney, the spaces address questions about fluidity, equity, and visibility – aka real estate, but also constructability and adaptability over time. Local artists, materials and labour was used to realize this project in its entirety.
The infill building serves as an urban storytelling device as much as a retail outlet. Its design utilizes “fluid” materials across all scales – paint turning into walls, walls staging as light fixtures, plumbing doubling up as display rails and furniture. The ground floor space showcases unique and exciting collections by independent designers in a raw yet polished space and features custom installations by local artists throughout the community. The stacked-shotgun layout of the spaces allows for special double height moments where merchandise is paired with art installations, performance, debate and the drive to be a hub for its community – which was also the driving force to create V-2 a Variability-Hub to strengthen and make visible challenges and movements within the community Verv serves. A fully public gender-fluid bathroom and powder room is the first of its kind and part of Verv’s community safe-space, along a debate and community workshop for indoor and outdoor working.

The second floor of the urban shelf acted mainly as a store until it became a transformative space: Alice in Hackneyland’s, an artists collective, Sensorium is built around the space interior. A critical lens pervades this project as it crosses opportunities to integrate architecture in its multiple contexts: from the urban approach and the street facade, to the intimate opening of the doorknob and picking up an item off the shelf, an integral approach was taken collaborating with artists and creatives from across disciplines. The store itself became a landmark for what it represents: a public voice for non-binariness.

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