A Thing for Concept Stores

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According to the web, the sophisticated term ‘concept store’ is a place where new ideas are put together in a bid to enhance the shopper experience and sell a wider selection of goods to the client. What’s more, many concept stores offer ‘experimental’ elements such as a café or exhibition space, building a connection with shoppers seeking a particular lifestyle. Although that sounds quite exhaustive, concept stores are my favourite type of places, as you can truly explore and try out different smaller brands, rather than one established label – and all that under one roof. Here are the four concept store I’ve recently visited while staying in Antwerp and Berlin.

Damoy is Florence Cools’ world. Here, she curates and sells brand-treasures coming from Belgium, France, Sweden and Denmark that have a kind of modern-romantic knack. Among the racks at her second, newly opened boutique in Antwerp, you will find a local favourite knitwear brand, I Love Mr. Mittens, but also such Scandi-chic pearls as Cecilie Copenhagen. The interior – lovely, warm minimalism – is more than remarkable.

Steenhouwersvest 46 / Antwerp

I know and admire Graanmarkt 13 for years. At the end of a small old square, there it is: a large, cozy space called just like its address. Designed by Vincent Van Buysen, filled with natural light and eclectic furniture, we’ve got the most charming place in the whole Antwerp. The store lately had a transition moment, when they switched from such renowned brands like Marni and Isabel Marant into timeless and more niche ones like Lemaire or Sofie D’hoor. The aim was to stop being a victim of fashion industry’s pace of endless trends and collections, and to stay true to personal style and love for quality.  While the store itself is already a fantastic place in its concept, Graanmarkt 13 is also a beautiful restaurant serving organic food (downstairs) and a far-fetched apartment for rent (top floor).

Graanmarkt 13 / Antwerp

In the heart of Kreuzberg district, Voo Store defines the word “cool“. The concept store – hidden in a former locksmith shop patio – is an industrial space selling brands like Raf Simons, J.W. Anderson, Acne Studios, but also a selection of Prada’s menswear collection.  You can relax and read niche magazines, while taking a sip of delightful coffee from their Companion Coffee place located in the other part of the store.

Oranienstraße 24 / Berlin

The Corner is Berlin’s classic. Combined with installations coming from local artists and a book / beauty section, The Corner has every brands you will love this and the next season: Raf Simon’s Calvin Klein, Jacquemus, Balenciaga, Vetements and many, many more. But also, such ultimate favourites like Céline or Dries Van Noten. Just around the corner (no pun intended…) there’s their menswear shop, while near Kurfürstendamm you’ve got one more location, but smaller, with a more off-duty selection.

Französische Straße 40 / Berlin

Photos by Edward Kanarecki.

November in Berlin

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Berlin always charges me up with creativity. That’s why, I can honestly recommend a trip to this diverse and extraordinary city to anyone who wants to spend his or her time in a, as they say, hype way. Here is my November mini-guide to the city’s most interesting shops and restaurants.

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ORA – Kreuzberg –  A former pharmacy is situated on the peaceful Oranienplatz, which one day became the most beautiful restaurant of the German capital – ORA. With the original cabinets de curiosities, wooden shelves and marble counters from the past, the restaurant serves lovely carrotscakes and casual, yet nutritious lunches. The romantic interior makes this restaurant not only a place to “EAT AT”, but also to “BE IN”.

Oranienplatz 14

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Voo Store – Kreuzberg – Voo is a concept store hidden in a former locksmith shop patio with perfectly selected clothes (Marques Almeida, A.P.C., Our Legacy, Gosha Rubchinskiy pack), awesome shoes (Raf Simons X Adidas rules) and lovely stationery (the notebooks! the pottery!). Here, you can relax and read niche magazines while drinking drip coffee from their Companion Coffee place.

Oranienstraße 24

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Kreuzberg wouldn’t be such a bold and colourful district without its well supplied flower-shops.

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Fête De La BoutiqueMitte – Owners Feli and Teresa have created a cozy atmosphere in their place. Self-designed contemporary furniture accompanies niche French, German and Scandinavian brands like Bruuns Bazaar, American Retro or Minimum. From fashion to home decor to jewelry and books, Fete De La Boutique makes you feel nearly like at home.

Mulackstraße  11

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Unico Mitte – Unico selects its jewellery straight from the studios of the most talented and contemporary designers from Buneos Aires. Their small, eclectic space located in the heart of Mitte is a place where a perfect Christmas gift can be found.

Alte Schönhauser Straße 50

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Qua PheMitte – Qua Phe is leading the Asian cuisine game in Berlin, and specifically the Vietnamese one. Great selection of finger food from Vietnam like banh bao or bahn gio is here, and you can eat it in a off-duty atmosphere of wooden tables, Asian stools and raw, metallic elements. Qua Phe is also known as a Vietnamese coffee shop – if you are visiting this place, don’t forget to taste their coffee drips with one of their signature desserts, ginger moshi! This gluey, sweet treat reminds me of toffee, but not quite…

Max-Beer Straße 37

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Voo Store

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Voo Store defines the word “cool“. And defines in a clear way, what is a store which makes you fall in love within the first glance. In heart of Kreuzberg district, a buzzy concept store is hidden in a former locksmith shop patio with heavenly selected clothes (Marques Almeida, A.P.C., AMI & Gosha Rubchinskiy for example), awesome shoes and lovely stationery. You can relax and read niche magazines while drinking delicious coffee from their Companion Coffee place. Or you can hurry up for the last Acne Studios beanie. Also, don’t forget to try out the sensual Mad et Len fragrances. In other words, let Voo seduce you with their amazing assortment!

Oranienstraße 24 / Berlin

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