Gentle Monster has opened a new store at the Westfield Valley Fair Mall in Santa Clara, California as part of its U.S. retail strategy, which aims to establish a physical brand and commercial presence in key U.S territories over the next three years.
In keeping with the South Korean eyewear brand’s attention to detail, surrealist DNA, and its fascination with futuristic concepts, the 4,300 square-foot store invites the customer on a journey through the eyes of a kinetic life-size robot of a strikingly lifelike old lady. Set in a futuristic world, the old lady gives you a peek into her childhood memories as you’re introduced to some of her childhood friends.
“The old lady was designed to look half asleep, creating a series of movements where she seems to be dozing off and waking up again,” said Wonho Moon, spatial designer at Gentle Monster. “We wanted to illustrate a dream state in which to convey how we interpret the memory restoration process, and more importantly, what would the reaction and emotion be when you wake up from a dream and see something physically appear from your dreams in front of your eyes. For the old lady, we see her waking up to see her childhood friend, the donkey. When designing her we focused on trying to create that emotion through an expression she gives once she awakens.”
Additional mind-bending features include life-scale moving donkeys placed opposite each other on a podium, creating the optical illusion of a mirror-image, and a looming kinetic pine tree held up by a giant hand. The immersive installations create a future world where technological advancements can restore memories. As the customer travels through the space, the experience brings them through the memories of the old lady, who has been gradually losing recollection of her past.
The kinetic installations took six months to design by a team of Gentle Monster spatial designers consisting of architects, robot designers and engineers, installation artists, and media and textile artists.
“Modern bricks-and-mortar retail has evolved and changed significantly over the last several years, but now during a pandemic when nothing is ‘normal’, we felt compelled to pursue our vision for a future-facing retail experience,” added David Kim, director of customer experience at Gentle Monster. “I hope that our new flagship allows for people to step inside the world and mind of Gentle Monster, and be able to forget their worries, even for a moment, and feel inspired, this was always the goal for Gentle Monster, and will always be the motivating factor for all of us.”
The Santa Clara store opens with a soft launch, debuting the new spring/summer ‘21 Gentle Monster collections, with plans of a VIP launch in late spring.