WORDS Mila Crewe-Brown
A balm for the senses, the appeasing design of the new FIELDS store belies the fact that it’s in a mall.
A curve announces your arrival at the entrance of the new FIELDS store in V&A Waterfront, distinguishing itself from the uniformity of retail outlets surrounding it. Psychologically, the departure from linear form says to the customer “exhale”, “linger a while”. It also hints that what’s to come is a retail experience that eschews the norm.
“When you walk into FIELDS, you break away from the noise and intensity of the mall,” founder Mikael Hanan explains of the stripped back and serene interior. “My hope is that this translates to customers feeling more comfortable in our space and becoming part of our journey.” That journey involves slowing down, supporting ethical and sustainable local production, and investing in premium garments that are designed for a lifetime. Rooted in the fabric of local craftsmanship, their three lines – Soul, Art and Outdoor – comprise of elevated, functional wardrobe staples for the multifaceted man.
Design duo Lauren Bolus and Tristan Mc Donald from Fabian & Make Architects, together with the building skills of the team from Residential Commercial Projects, have used the curve as the predominant language of display units, rails, and joinery profiles, engaging its ability to guide and create movement, as well as soothe. By minimising clutter on the floor plan they’ve also enhanced a sense of flow. “Simplifying the store’s design meant placing heightened emphasis on select elements to define the space,” they explain.
In contrast with the plentiful organic forms, clean lined timber display units contour the periphery. Here, meticulously stacked shirts, sweaters and pants in a kaleidoscope of colours are thrown into focus in the glow of barely there LED strips. Textured wallpaper, green stucco walls and acoustic oak paneling bring ample warmth and tactility to the scene. Intentionally quiet in its design, the new store broadcasts a feeling, rather than a style. It’s a space that captures the unassuming elegance of the menswear brand and redefines the notion of retail therapy.