New Balance Roppongi store: stepping out of the box

Sports shoe retailer New Balance stepped out of the box with its store-of-the-future in the midtown Tokyo suburb of Roppongi.

“The new concept is a bold step and blurs the line between lifestyle and performance, as well as accounting for the role of retail,” explained Hong Kong-based New Balance global retail creative director Bob Neville.

Designer Greater Group won the Retail Award at last year’s Hong Kong Business International Business Awards, in recognition of the New Balance Roppongi flagship.

The key difference in the store its dramatic departure from the familiar sports-shoe retail format. It features simple, linear and contemporary aesthetics which can easily be transformed into an event or product launch space via mobile wooden podiums; it can cleverly transform on demand.

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“With today’s connected world, the retail format has had to change; to evolve and bring innovation, to better engage consumers,” says Neville.

“The New Balance 19:06 concept is a clean architectural articulation of the brand, and just like a transformer, can be changed up into an event or product launch space with the floor fixtures fitting into the walls.”

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The store was built around the Japanese concept of “MA”—the consciousness of the void between two structural parts. Strategically placed lights create separation between the ceiling and the walls, while wooden walls and sharp concrete flooring provide contrast, representing ‘raw performance’.

Greater Group’s Hong Kong-based Asian team, which also has offices in Shanghai and Jakarta, led the design which will soon influence other New Balance concept stores and flagships around the world.

“Greater Group’s Asia design team boldly translated their creativity and expertise to bring New Balance’s hybrid vision to life,” explains Ryan Arrowsmith, the company’s Asia CEO and partner.

The company has now designed 75 stores around the world for New Balance, becoming “an extremely important partner” to the brand, says Neville.

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When designing stores, Arrowsmith says the Greater Group team aims to increase its client’s average sales and in-store dwell time, reduce walkouts, increase the frequency of customer visits and attract new customers – “they’re all the keys to growth in the competitive world of retail”.

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The New Balance Lifestyle concept store opened its doors last May.

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