House of Smart invites you inside the brain's nervous system
You might expect a smart shop (i.e. stores selling herbal drugs for recreational purposes mainly across the Netherlands) to look like a hippie dungeon with heavy tie-dye draperies, dim lights, and smoke swirling all over. However, here comes Eindhoven’s latest downtown destination to dismantle all your foggy visions of such places. Simply called The House of Smart, this store near Witte Dame rather merges into the urban landscape than creating psychedelic dreamland - after all, this is up for the customer.
Designed by Maurice Mentjens, the interior takes references to the location and the store’s purpose in a different way. The core design element is the wooden criss-cross panelling, which recalls the nervous system of the brain, especially with the complementing minimal neon light beams. The geometric strictness of the structure, along with the sober grey colouring, seem contradictory with the idea of selling stimulants only upon first inspection.
On the one hand, it is a plausible reference as Eindhoven and its surroundings have been labelled the ‘smartest region’ by the Intelligent Community Forum in 2011. This is applicable not only to the population living and working there, but it is due to the many think-thanks and innovational-technological companies operating in the area. Therefore, the computer chip-like grey system can be read as an abstract, physical representation of the location’s defining character.
Secondly, by juxtaposing stimulants with the idea of clarity and logic, Mentjens initiates an interesting conversation about the effects of drug use on our behaviour and cognitive capabilities.
Besides its allegorical quality, the panelling structure is of course highly functional. It provides opportunities to display products on strategic points, maintaining sufficient security when needed. Fulfilled completely by Mentjens’s design solutions, the owners wanted the House of Smart to be a place that is open about its products and mission. The open plan, large windows, and exposed products deny all forms of secrecy and make a real statement in the centre of town.
Source: Retail Design Blog
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