Just steps from the Champs-Elysées, a Paris pop-up store featuring products by Canadian clothing brand Alynement opened earlier this month. In place of shelves or racks, the shop has been outfitted with an unusual display system: white, pleated, load-bearing curtains of paper. Surrounded by nothing but white folds, the brand’s pared-down leather and knit garments remain centre stage.
Called Bezier Concertina, the adjustable, flat-pack paper system was designed by Jeffrey Forrest and James Munroe of Stacklab, a multidisciplinary design and fabrication studio based in Toronto. “The biggest challenge was conceiving a design that was simultaneously light and rigid, one that respected the simple elegance of the Alynement brand in a Parisian context,” Forrest explained to Azure.
At 2.4 metres tall and weighing 113 kilograms, the system is composed of pure white, fine-grade, corrugated cardboard, and absolutely nothing else. Free of staples and screws, metal hooks and glue, the all-paper system was hand-assembled by 10 people over the course of six hours. As Forrest notes, “it was optimized digitally for site, use, weight, set-up time, and of course, cost.”
The Bezier Concertina offers a manageability perfect for the short-term needs of a pop-up shop — especially one overseas. “We built the installation in Toronto, shipped it, and unfolded it like a big accordion. The installation is temporary, but it was designed for re-use and can be recycled locally at any time,” Forrest says.
Alynement’s creative director, Chinese-Canadian fashion designer Amanda Lew Kee, was a part of the process from the beginning. “We worked together all the way from conceptual design to installation,” Forrest says. Munroe added that Lew Kee “specifically wanted us to design something that was as much art installation as it was display system.” What she got was a billowy homage to the humble cardboard templates used in clothing design.
Located in Paris’s glitzy 8th arrondissement, the 20-square-metre space was provided by the boutique hotel Amastan Paris. On until February 11, the store is so simple that in the midst of so much luxury, it can’t help but pop.