Paper Product

In the heart of SoHo’s cobblestone streets, among the designer shopping destinations and luxury condos, the latest and greatest retail attraction is a building made of paper. To differentiate the new Camper House of Shoes, Shigeru Ban Architects and longtime collaborator Dean Maltz Architects opted for understated simplicity.

Shigeru Ban’s first retail project in the U.S. is his fifth completed project in New York, after Paper Arch (2000), Nomadic Museum (2005), Furniture House 5 (2006) and Metal Shutter Houses (2011). The store’s most noticeable architectural feature is a triangular roof, made from Ban’s recycled paper tubes. And the 1,200 square foot interior includes a lenticular wall of shoe cubbies, a white/red striped floor, a faux grass check out table and Ban’s own modular seating.

Ban now joins a list of Camper collaborators that reads like a design reference: Bernhard Willhelm, Fernando and Humberto Campana, Konstantin Grcic, Veronique Branquinho, Hella Jongerius, Jasper Morrison, Ronan and Erwan Bouroullec, Alfredo Häberli, Maria Blaisse, Michele De Lucchi and Romain Kremer.

Camper also commissioned Ban to design a pavilion structure for the Volvo Ocean Race, a ten-port challenge that circumnavigates the entire globe. The structure is moveable—another signature Ban trait, as evidenced in his temporary housing for refugees—and will decamp at ports like Sanya, Miami and Lorient. Just like the SoHo store, this structure incorporates paper as both the principal structural element and visual focus.

It’s a busy season for Ban, after a 2011 commercial hiatus during which his Tokyo office focused on helping victims of the tsunami. He also designed the exhibition, “Irving Penn and Issey Miyake: Visual Dialogue.”

 The Camper store boasts a great location, just a stone’s throw from AG, Ralph Lauren, Apple, Anna Sui, Wolford and Louis Vuitton. Beyond luxe products, the Shigeru Ban design offers a free peek at progressive design.

Text by Michael Cohen
Photography courtesy of Michilli Inc.