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Universal Design Studio creates new retail landscape for Mulberry in Soho.
Courtesy Mulberry

134 Spring Street
New York
Tel: 212.835.4700
Designer: Universal Design Studios, London

For its first US flagship store, UK retailer Mulberry imported inspiration from its New Bond Street home in London to Spring Street in Manhattan. Universal Design Studio (UDS) employed an abstracted English landscape garden concept across the store. “The idea was to have a landscape of forms, punctuated by follies,” says Paul Gulati, Senior Associate at UDS. These pockets of space create intimate environments that relate directly to the activity in the store and also act as a device to encourage customers to navigate its store layout, 120 feet deep. “We have put the most active and social part of the store at the front, to expose the brand and introduce it to the market,” says Gulati. “Then the follies slow it down.”


The 5,000-square foot space has two main follies. The first is a circular wall of books delineating the shoe area. Rising nine feet high, the cascading textured book stacks have their spines facing inwards, creating a contrast with the pristine gallery-like walls. Although a purely sculptural element, it refers to the street’s one-time tenants, publishers and book sellers. The brass folly in the back of the store has brass pendants illuminating the area, lowering the light level and directing attention to the accessories on display. Bespoke brass artwork by Jonathan Ellery and a monolithic brass cash desk at the front continue this materiality in other parts of the space, which was stripped back to its shell, saving some refurbished elements like the tin-panelled ceiling and the ornate decoration on the columns. UDS has produced a character and light-filled interior for Mulberry's cavernous store, and furnishings like the triangulated oak wood tables and displays betray the designer's collaboration with sister company, Barber Osgerby, known for its playful furniture design. “The idea of objects in the landscape picks up the rhythm of English vernacular,” says Gulati. “Simple versions of wooden buildings, made beautifully.”

Gwen Webber