London-based, impact-conscious menswear brand LESTRANGE announces the opening of its first international store in the Nine Streets in Amsterdam. Rooted in the principles of biophilic design, the new space combines natural textures and repurposed materials throughout to create a truly biophilic haven for visitors. 

LESTRANGE was founded with a core commitment to the notion of essentialism- encapsulated by the brand’s emblematic motto, “With Less, Do More”. As part of their commitment to pursue degrowth in the fashion industry, LESTRANGE co-founders Tom Horne and Will Green enlisted biophilic design specialist Oliver Heath to provide a blueprint for a new reimagined retail experience specially curated for LESTRANGE customers, grounded in biophilic principles. The duo chose to commission British designer Fred Rigby, a longstanding collaborator of the brand, to bring LESTRANGE’s biophilic vision to life.

The definition of biophilic design extends far beyond the introduction of planting, instead ‘using human’s innate attraction to nature and natural processes, to improve the many spaces we lie and work in’ (Oliver Heath). The brand’s new biophilic blueprint looks to introduce an essential connection to nature within the LESTRANGE stores, reimagining the traditional retail experience by evoking a strong sense of place and belonging, and an immersive feeling of comfort and tranquillity. Appealing to the sensory experience at every touchpoint, the biophilic elements extend from the lighting to the materiality

Known for their impact focus and innovation to reduce overconsumption, including the launch of a  revolutionising washing technology, Re_Fresh, in 2022 – pioneered to double the lifespan of clothing, the brand invited Fred Rigby Studio to lean into the rich heritage and architectural bones of the space as a blank canvas to tell the story of LESTRANGE. Fred Rigby Studio adopts a low impact and local approach to the store design, combining natural textures, locally sourced and repurposed materials with subtle colour accents, sensory elements and abundant biophilic elements.

FSC-certified spruce plywood and pine, both of which grow in the Netherlands, cocoon and partition the space whilst also finding new life in bespoke furnishings peppered throughout. Rigby celebrates the beauty of the natural grain in his design concept, nodding to the surrounding ecology of the store. 

Led by the desire to bring in natural light, the heart of the space sits The Circadian Sphere, an eye-catching feature of the store designed by LESTRANGE together with Leach Lighting. The circular light emits a glow emulating daylight and its LEDs will change through the day matching the natural circadian rhythm to bring the outdoors into the space. Acting like a portal to nature, the light sits above a tree that occupies the central position in the store, as if under the sky. 

The store is designed to create a journey for the customer to discover LESTRANGE upon entering the space, welcomed by the curated ‘Cabinet of Curiosities’ along the left wall. Custom built wall units, the ‘cabinet’ is designed to showcase an ever-evolving curation of brands, artists, projects and products (both emerging and established) with the same mission of building a better future in coexistence with the planet, embodying LESTRANGE’s dedication to change within the industry. Highlights include 3D printed bio-sourced design pieces from Argot Studios, wild fragrance from Haeckels, and other discoveries from Transparent, Braun, Osmose and more.

Rigby’s brief for the changing rooms was to create a nurturing, lounge-like space of sorts, referencing furnishings and the details you might find in an apartment. At top of the steps, towards the back of the store, vintage lounge chairs and a pour over coffee set-up create an environment to mirror inviting a guest in one’s home. Reimagining the traditional retail experience, the ‘cash desk’ is discreetly designed and blends into the coffee counter to create a frictionless journey.

Building a connection with nature is a key component of the store, with considered plants that line the walls from the moment the customer steps through the doors, with further touch points of greenery extending all the way to the back. A large planter level with the back changing room area, opens up the space even further for a cohesive design that feels organic to the store.

Whilst the biophilic approach covers all the sensorial elements, centralising living greenery as a way to spark conversation about LESTRANGE’s mission and vision was a key consideration. Evoking the feeling of an interior garden there is a middle area splitting the two levels of the store, which complements the central tree that sits underneath The Circadian Sphere light.

Underlining their commitment to reducing consumption, the new store will house only a small curated edit of LESTRANGE’s seasonless capsule clothing alongside a thoughtful selection of vintage furniture. The clothing rails made from sustainability sourced pine are part of a fully modular system that can be rearranged and taken down to optimise for versatility and evolve with the store and brand.

The Nine Streets is the third store designed by Fred Rigby as part of the designer’s ongoing collaboration with LESTRANGE, which has seen him develop low footprint and modular-led temporary and permanent spaces for the brand in Notting Hill, Soho and Spitalfields in London. Rigby will also be unveiling the design concept for the brand’s fourth store, opening at Coal Drops Yard in London from 9th May 2023.