Sweet Villians in the Eslite Store at Songshan Cultural Park, Taipei, Taiwan (2013)

“Sweet Villians” is a shoe brand specialised in semi-customised footwear for style-conscious, trendy urbanites.

 ICONIC: Simple – Special – Strong.

The brand roots come from the company’s designers who were educated at Central Saint Martins (College of Arts and Design) in central London, England. Their inspiration for their traditional shoes is Classic English and for the avant-garde shoes, from London Street Style. From the outset we agreed that the design DNA should be ICONIC rather than STYLISTIC, and together we chose the theme of the space should be “Classic Industrial London” of the Victorian Era (mid to late 1800’s).

The design of the space merges therefore iconic architectural elements (like the brick arches), features (like the gas lights and the cast iron “Underground” bench) and fixtures (like the shoemaker’s workshop and the old industrial shelving with dark, weathered wood and iron wheels, the carpet and the framed prints) from industrial building of that time, and of the London Underground (“The Tube”, opened in 1863).

 

The purpose of a CONCEPT STORE is to LAUNCH AN IDEA.

In a world where even avant-garde fashion is standardised the design concept was to change the focus of the store as a sales point for semi-customised shoes, to a service space helping people to express their individuality & personality.

So, this store does not to promote Sweet Villians as a shoe company that delivers special shoes but communicates Sweet Villians as a brand that helps visitors to express themselves. This means that from a B2C point of view, Sweet Villians is a SERVICE BRAND, not a production company.

As a BRAND POINT this store is therefore conceived as a SERVICE COUNTER, a meeting place for dialogue. The focus of the space is therefore on communication and exchange of ideas. As the service is to help people choose and define their style, we created a slogan for the brand to communicate this idea:

“express yourself – be a Sweet Villian” 

As stated above, the actual product of Sweet Villians is semi-customised shoes. The service counter is therefore a shoemaker’s workshop placed centrally in the front of the space with high stools on either side: two for guests, and one for the shop assistant. The assistant helps visitors to design their own shoes by selecting styles, colours and the materials from among the samples in the workshop.

By being actively involved in the creation process, the guests “sell themselves” their shoes. This means that we could concentrate mainly on creating a space that PULLS people rather than PROMOTING a brand or PUSHING products. To create “people Pull” is thus the design philosophy of the Sweet Villians Brand Point.

 

 

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