Last week I spent a few hours in the new Rapha store and coffee shop in the heart of London’s trendy Soho. The store has been open for a couple of weeks now and this kind of retail development makes an interesting contrast to the unchanging (or very slowly changing) environment that is Canterbury Cathedral. That said, whilst the store undoubtedly lacks the gravitas of a Cathedral, on the the grounds of cool and funky, this place wins hands down.
It was put together by Brinkworth Design who seem to make a habit of this kind of slightly edgy kind of work and to their credit I think they’ve done a pretty good job. The store is an interesting attempt at creating a slightly different retail environment for their brand (Rapha is a cycling brand, who have done collections with Paul Smith I believe, but fashion is really not something that interests me so don’t quote me!). The coffee shop and fashion stuff sit comfortably together united by the exposed services and rough unfinished surfaces. The place seemed to be popular, judging by the frequently changing muddy courier bicycles hanging up on the rack by the door and I particularly liked the fact that the front cab of the corrugated steel French van was made into an office, albeit a rather cramped one.
And they served an excellent cup of coffee!
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