Checkerboard walls wrap Awake NY store by Rafael de Cárdenas

Checkerboard walls wrap Awake NY store by Rafael de Cárdenas

De Cárdenas worked with Angelo Baque, the former brand director of streetwear brand Supreme, on the design of a retail location for Awake NY, which Baque founded in 2012.

Replica of metal globe from World Fair in Queens
Large sculptures are placed throughout the store, including a replica of the Flushing Meadows Corona Park Unisphere

The new home for the men’s clothing line at 62 Orchard Street is a homage to New York City’s fashion meccas of the 1980s and 90s, many of which have since shuttered.

“Both De Cárdenas and Baque grew up in New York around the same time, which informed their design direction,” said a joint statement from the duo. “They built upon shared memories of lost landmarks in New York design and youth culture: Canal Jean, Antique Boutique, and Unique — and used them as reference points for the store identity.”

Clothing hung on rails below a carved wooden frame
Several elements leftover from the store’s previous occupants were retained, including carved wooden frames above the clothing racks

The store retains some of the features left over from the family-owned suiting business that formerly occupied the space.

Logos of brands carried by the previous tenants are still visible on the glass vitrines on either side of the entrance.

Checkerboard wall behind a stereo system and a pair of chairs
The walls at the back of the space are covered in a checkerboard pattern

These display cases now carry bright blue carpets and colorful portraits by local artist Alvin Armstrong.

Other remnants from the store’s past include the original exterior signage, which reads “Mens Clothiers”, and carved wooden frames above the clothing racks inside.

A giant plywood 'A'
Other large sculptural elements include giant plywood ‘A’

New elements include the flooring, sourced from a school gym in Cleveland, and wood shelving affixed to the walls with ratchet straps.

At the back of the boutique, the walls are covered in a checkerboard pattern that is repeated on a display stand closer to the center.

Some of the industrial-style columns and areas of the metal-paneled ceiling are left exposed, while other structural elements are painted white or wrapped in mirrors.

Murals by Larissa De Jesús Negrón adorn the fitting room area, and checkered chairs were sourced from B&B Italia.

Plywood shelving with a small fridge installed inside
Plywood is also used to form storage and display cases

There are also several large sculptural pieces placed on the shop floor, helping to create a flow for shoppers.

“The store is anchored by a replica of the Flushing Meadows Corona Park Unisphere, originally built for the 1964 World’s Fair in Baque’s hometown of Queens, and a floor-to-ceiling Awake NY ‘A’ built from plywood in the center of the store,” said the design team.

Clothing displayed in the Awake NY store
The flooring was sourced from a school gym in Cleveland

De Cárdenas, who is one of the judges for this year’s Dezeen Awards, has designed a variety of retail projects during his career.


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