HOSPITALITYDESIGN: Norm Architects Completes New Notabene Flagship


Danish footwear brand Notabene has unveiled a new flagship location in the heart of central Copenhagen. Designed by local studio Norm Architects, the store was conceived as a hub for all aspects of shoe design—housing spaces like a shoeshine bar and a creative lab across the industrial site.

“The intention to form a retail space resembling that of an artist’s atelier, combined with a simplified and stylized warehouse feeling, is enhanced by the many freestanding plinths, displaying shoes as artwork in a versatile, yet harmonized, material palette,” says Norm Architects founder Jonas Bjerre-Poulsen.

Exposed and tactile concrete walls anchor the double-height interior, which is lined with black and white terrazzo floors and minimalist aluminum shelving and rustic clay podiums. Soft curtains accent the stark walls that serve as a backdrop for delicate Japanese oak furniture as well. “The expressive and raw building structure tells tales of various use over time and is juxtaposed by refined Japanese cabinet making, echoing the refinement and precision of the shoemaking process itself,” adds Norm Architects partner Peter Eland.

The refined shoes on display establish a tension of form and tactility throughout the elevated retail environment, while a motif of vertical lines is perpetuated through elements like the staircase, which links the lower shoeshine bar and the design lab on the mezzanine. Dual nooks in the rear of the store showcase accessories as well.

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