words Kieran Long
Shoebaloo is a multicoloured tunnel of footwear on Amsterdam’s fashionable PC Hooftstraat street. Designed by Amsterdam-based Meyer & van Schooten, the 100sq m interior can change colour thanks to 540 fluorescent bulbs set behind its plastic shell.
The computer-controlled lighting scheme can be arranged in slowly-changing patterns, or configured statically with areas of the shop bathed in pink, blue, red or green.
Shoebaloo first opened its Hooftstraat store 12 years ago with an interior by Czech designer Borek Sipek. These days it sits alongside boutiques such as Cartier, Louis Vuitton and Gucci. Meyer & van Schooten chose to make an understated street facade, and to contrast with other, flashier shops by using one-way glass that is only transparent when light is shone behind it. The facade thus reflects the rather staid shop fronts across the street and reveals glimpses of illuminated shoes seemingly dancing inside.
Project architect Goerd Göschel said: “We didn’t want to make a very flashy facade but a very dark one. Then when the sliding door opens you see this amazing room.”
Inside, vacuum moulded translucent polyacrylic is used for the ceiling and wall-mounted shelving, with niches for the display of shoes. The floor is glass, underneath which sit more of the acrylic panels.
The Barbarella-style egg-shaped pieces of furniture are seats, a cash desk and display cases for accessories.
Meyer & van Schooten is more used to large-scale housing and commercial projects, but Göschel added: “[Meyer & van Schooten] used to do shops when they started out in the 1980s. We usually don’t do small projects, but this was very special.”
The architects are about to design another shop for Shoebaloo in Rotterdam, which is to open later in the year.