COS buildings: From Zürich to NYC
Explore the sustainable innovations and design inspiration behind COS stores around the world, including the restoration of a former bank in Switzerland and an interactive installation for kids.
At COS, considered design isn’t just about seasonal collections, it also extends to the many buildings that house them. We spoke to the building and interior department and store teams to find out more about three different flagships in South Korea, Switzerland and the US that COS gets to call home.
SUWON: SUSTAINABLE SOLUTIONS
From sustainably sourced materials to its new Resell platform – COS applies the same eco-conscious principles to garment production as they do to their physical stores. The building and interior department regularly works with innovative materials and processes to help reduce waste and minimise environmental impact. So, it was a natural evolution when, in March 2020, COS Galleria Gwanggyo in Suwon, South Korea, joined forces with Studio Woojai – a design collective which experiments with materials in sculptural ways to explore their hidden potential.
Designer Woojai Lee crafted display objects using recycled newspapers – first turning them into pulps and mixing them with glue, before shaping them into bricks. The result? A marble-like surface with the delicate texture of paper but the solid structure of stone. Speaking about the partnership, COS head of interior Delphine Gautier says: ‘It was a very natural collaboration. Studio Woojai developed a material that we thought was tactile, beautiful, interesting – and sustainable. And by taking ownership of our impact on global resources, we ensure a better future for our customers.’
NEW YORK: AN ENCHANTING EXPERIENCE
What better way to launch a new Kids collection at the COS Fifth Avenue store, than with a fun installation? The interior team got to work creating mood boards using art and architecture as inspiration, translating the vibrant colours of the clothes to the store’s interior. Explains COS interior project manager Louise Welsh: ‘We wanted to create an installation that could not only show the collection, but that also had an interactive element for our customers – especially the little ones – offering them a curated destination to explore and play.’
The curved shapes and sustainable, tactile materials – from reconstituted foam, to powder-coated metal rails – are reminiscent of a children's play area, allowing COS customers big and small to explore through arched walkways and discover new favourites in the collection.
ZÜRICH: BEHIND THE DESIGN
From Einstein’s local cafe to the 19th-century Utoquai lake resort, Zürich is steeped in history. Nestled in what is one of the city’s most-popular shopping streets, a heritage building from the 1920s (and former bank) is now home to COS Bahnhofstrasse – a three-storey concept store spanning 812sqm. ‘To be in the middle of Bahnhofstrasse is amazing,’ says store manager Michelle Spahr. ‘There are a lot of tourists and every day is different.’
With a new home comes new responsibilities… Working with original architectural features is paramount for COS – and the Bahnhofstrasse store is no exception. ‘The old bank is an important building on this street, with such a rich interior,’ says Delphine, ‘so it was vital for us to be respectful about how we incorporated our store. We followed the rhythm of the space and positioned every element in a way that preserves the integrity of the building’s original features.’ And there’s certainly no shortage of those: from the original exterior and the marble mosaic flooring, to the terracotta cladded pillars and the safety deposit vault – all have been carefully restored by the COS in-house team with sustainability and longevity in mind, starting a new chapter in the building’s history. Can’t visit? No problem. You can now shop COS online in Switzerland.
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