Our buildings mean much more to us than simply a place to house our collections. They’re part of the COS experience. Whether it’s a flagship store or a small pop-up, our team of in-house architects consider every detail to bring you destinations of great design, whatever or wherever they may be.
Since our first store opened in London, we’ve taken COS to many places around the world. Our iconic buildings can now be seen in the likes of New York, Los Angeles, Berlin, Tokyo, Seoul and Paris – just to name a few.
But as we broaden our horizons, we must think beyond walls to reinvent the definition of our spaces and the positive impact they can make. This means looking at ways we can make every aspect of our stores more sustainable, from the materials we use in our interiors and construction methods, to extending the life of our interior concepts and ways of using less energy. This year, we launched new concept interiors in Stockholm and Taipei using more recycled content materials to keep the design as circular as possible. We have removed and replaced high carbon materials such as fiberglass and concrete and designed both stores for disassembly to ensure we can easily maintain, repair and reuse as much of our interior as possible.
This is not new to us. Many of our stores are housed in buildings that already had a long life before COS. For example, if you visit us in Paris, you’ll find us nestled within the cosy courtyard of an ex-hammam bathhouse. Not only does this create a unique shopping experience for our customers, but it means we can reuse what’s already there, instead of using up resources to create new stores. We always do what we can to preserve what’s there in the present, so that we can give a future to the buildings of the past.
It’s our ambition to become leaders in meaningful change and find better ways to build our stores, not just for ourselves, but for our whole industry too. That’s why we are currently working on 4 main areas of improvement to create a more circular and sustainable built environment, which are outlined below.
01. RESOURCE REDUCTION & OPTIMISATION
We want to reduce the amount of raw resources in our interiors and ensure the materials we do use come from recycled or renewable sources. In order to do this, we are focusing on the areas below.
REDUCE WEIGHT PER SQ M
One of the ways we are reducing the weight of our new concept interior is by removing the concrete plinths underneath our rail system, which also effectively removes a material that has a high carbon footprint.
IDENTIFY & IMPLEMENT BETTER MATERIALS
By replacing energy-intensive materials with more energy-efficient alternatives, we are reducing our overall CO2 emissions. Our new concept interiors include renewable materials with a high recycled content. For example, our new wardrobes are made from fast-growing bamboo, which replaces traditional timber, and our fitting room panels are partially made from recycled plastic bottles.
SET A CO2E BASELINE FOR OUR INTERIORS
In our new concept interior we have used many materials that have LCA (life cycle assessment) reports which indicate the amount of CO2e emitted. We’re continuing to work on ways to improve our performance for future phases of the store.
We’re working towards fitting all our stores with LED lights by the end of 2024 – with a target to have 80% of our stores switched over by the end of 2023. Moving to more energy-efficient lighting will help us significantly reduce our CO2 emissions, and we are already starting to see a reduction in energy usage across our stores.
02. CIRCULAR DESIGN
We want to design products and prioritise materials in our interiors that can be easily recycled or reused to reduce our consumption of raw resources, which is better for the planet.
Our new concept showcases a modular rail system made from recyclable metal that can be adjusted based on the needs of our collection. The design is easy to repair and alter in store without the need for new parts, and can be disassembled at end of life.
We are also trialling a new circular flooring system in our new Stockholm store which allows us to install floor tiles without adhesive. Each tile can be easily repaired or reused, ensuring the longevity of our flooring for longer.
03. REUSE, REPAIR AND RECYCLE
Along with designing products with disassembly in mind, it is important that we reuse, repair, and recycle as much as we can from our existing stores.
This year we have saved 113 tonnes of materials from our closures and refits to be either put back into our stores, repurposed, or donated. By developing new take back schemes with existing suppliers and looking at innovative ways to work with our waste streams, we maintain our products and materials within a circular system.
We have closed the loop on our use of concrete by taking old plinths to be granulated by our suppliers to create new plinths for our stores. This year alone, we have sent 55 tonnes of concrete to be repurposed into new products.
Additionally, we have also worked with our shopfitting suppliers to retrieve interior that can be reused or repaired to open new stores. This year we have sent 28 tonnes to be refurbished and put back into stores and opened 2 stores with interior partly from our reused stock.
04. RESPONSIBLE MATERIALS
We are constantly seeking innovative solutions for the materials we use in our stores. Here are a few examples we have introduced so far, but keep checking back to discover more.