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Best of CH 2010: Top Five Retail Visions

Singaporean bags in Amsterdam, architectural shoes in NYC, food as news in Pittsburgh and more in our 2010 retail review

by Phuong-Cac Nguyen in Design on 30 December 2010

Our round-up presents brick-and-mortar stores that took advantage of space and place to give customer experiences that went beyond just shopping and eating.

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Melrose Market

Seattle's Melrose Market opened in Capitol Hill boasting 21,000-square-feet of space as home to almost a dozen retailers including Sitka & Spruce, Rain Shadow Meats, Calf and Kid and Still Liquor. With a focus on locally sourced, independent and organic goods, the beautiful building that once produced auto parts now attracts a clientele looking for a more updated version of Pike's Place.

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Property Of

The owners of Singaporean bag label Property Of championed their coffee shop roots when conceiving the plans for their flagship store on one of the busiest streets in Amsterdam. Rather than launch a traditional boutique, they instead opened a cafe serving up Seattle's Stumptown Coffee with a shop stocking their goods alongside an array of specialty magazines and books.

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Dark Shop

United Nude's Manhattan store Dark Shop is reminiscent of a nightclub, with its dark interior and striking LED wall lighting up the shoes on display. The future-tech interior was designed by creative director Rem D. Koolhaas, and is perfectly aligned with the brand's vision of architecturally-inspired footwear.

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Conflict Kitchen

An art installation with a retail side, Conflict Kitchen is a project in Pittsburgh that aims to educate the public through food. Calling attention to countries the United States is currently in conflict with, its current incarnation is Bolani Pazi, which serves Afghani turnovers. All food is wrapped in paper printed with information and facts about that country, such as its traditional customs and the U.S.' involvement.

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Converse SoHo

Converse adapted its extensive history as a brand into its second store, located in NYC's SoHo neighborhood. With the world's biggest selection of Converse shoes, there's a pick-up window that's particularly useful for those who already know what they want and a wall featuring an American flag installation made from its iconic Chuck Taylors. Things here are as straightforward as the m.o. that its legions of fans have helped shaped—be unique and yourself. To that end, the decoration is subtle enough without the need to drum up false hype.

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