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The COS store experience: our journey to circularity

Designed with circularity in mind and making use of recycled materials, COS has created a space that matches the modernity of its clothes

As any discerning shopper knows, a brand’s store is far more than just a place to buy. A store to remember is a place that feels in line with what a brand stands for – and this comes from everything from knowledgeable and passionate sales staff to striking and innovative interior design. Ultimately, a visit to a brand’s space needs to celebrate the tangibility of the brick-and-mortar experience – it needs to be a joy beyond a single purchase.

You might notice some changes when shopping at the COS store in Stockholm from this month. Discover a new look with curved shapes and natural surfaces dominating in a design that is warm and sculptural but also, crucially, signals a new approach – one aligned with the way COS makes its clothes, with mindful production and modern design at the core.

Across the world, new COS flagships, like the one just opened in Stockholm, are committed to using more circular materials. From a cash desk made from recycled paper to handles in fitting rooms made from recycled Murano glass, statement rugs made from leftover yarn and mannequins made from recycled plastic, our interiors team have searched globally for more circular materials that have less environmental impact and also contribute to a space that enhances your shopping experience.

COS is celebrating existing materials by making a new – and stylish – environment. Lloyd Goldby, Global Head of Growth at COS, sees this combination as crucial to the new stores. ‘[We want the customer to feel] inspired and excited by a new COS direction. [They] should feel relaxed and comfortable in order to spend time discovering the collection and spaces.’ In addition to materials to marvel at, stores will feature art on the walls and objects and furniture to grab your attention, while retaining a more circular pedigree. ‘All interior furniture has been designed to be reused or easily recycled at end of life with a focus on letting the materials we have chosen to speak for themselves in their natural state’, says Lloyd.

‘All interior furniture has been designed to be reused or easily recycled at end of life with a focus on letting the materials we have chosen to speak for themselves in their natural state’ 

– Lloyd Goldby, Global Head of Growth

Mannequins made from recycled plastic.

Fast-growing bamboo lumber for the in-store wardrobes.

The brand knows that clothing doesn’t exist in a vacuum, so it wants to create a world in store that replicates the design-led environment in which you likely wear its clothes. Each store will be slightly different, from colour scheme to furnishings, to ensure a place that fits in with the culture or mood of a home city, as red works for the vibrant energy of Stockholm.

Designed and delivered in-house, the new store concept underlines the COS commitment to increasing circularity. Lloyd says the priority is to ‘drastically reduce the carbon impact of our stores and become a leader in industry for sustainable store design.’ This is clear in everything from 100% recycled content acrylic for the display cases, the low-carbon rail system and fast-growing bamboo lumber for the in-store wardrobes. The new stores have become more environmentally friendly – and compared to previous stores, recycled content has increased by more than 50%.

Radical ideas also come with time. For example, the floor of the new stores, which wear away with the years, use removable tiles and no adhesive so they can be recycled when finished with. As Lloyd says, it is details like this that are truly innovative now. ‘To be able to transform a store without having to rebuild [is] having a concept that can adapt and change over time, a store that is not afraid of showing its customers learnings, failures or challenges as they strive towards a better future.’

The store of the future is, of course, something we can’t predict. But what is clear is that adaptability and flexibility are key qualities to ensure it will, crucially, work beyond its immediate moment. ‘The future of store design should be open, collaborative and not champion past design decisions as “irreplaceable”’, explains Lloyd. ‘Everything should be in motion, always looking to better materials and more efficient design solutions. We continuously seek to be better.’

The COS journey towards circularity hasn’t reached its destination – but its new stores are the latest place to see it in action. Enjoy them and expect changes to continue as they strive to the future, in store and in your wardrobes. Always.

Words by Lauren Cochrane

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