Although there are already 14 Pedder Red stores in Asia, the 1,800-square-foot shop on Wellington Street is the first to unveil a new retail concept for the brand and offers an original take on footwear retailing.
Peter Harris, president of Pedder Group, said the first step was finding the right location. "In Hong Kong there's a big move away from traditional retailing centers to more interesting streets — the circumference around the city. Obviously you need to look carefully, but these streets are where you find ceiling height and facade volume that doesn't exist in shopping malls," he said.
Wyndham Street is popular with locals and tourists alike as it connects the city's two most popular social areas — Soho and Lan Kwai Fong. Although there are a few local fashion boutiques here, the street is best known for being home to Hong Kong's most beloved roasted goose restaurant and its quirky shops, such as the tattoo parlor next door and the exotic florist across the street.
The Pedder Red shop spans what was once two separate stores — the city's best-known futon shop and an Indian restaurant. Shanghai-based architects Neri & Hu Design came up with a plan that keeps both entrances and two distinct shopping areas, yet is anchored by one novel feature — the "shoebox."
Made of smoked oak and placed at the front of the store, the monolithic structure is literally the shop's storage area, but it is also an integral part of its energy. Through rectangular red-lacquered cutaways, customers can see into the shoe "library" (including rolling shelving units) and espy a red spiral staircase that leads to the larger stockroom upstairs. Salespeople are rarely out of sight and, by design, cannot disappear into the back of the store. Principal architect Lyndon Neri said the concept of the shoebox arose as the team considered how to deal with storage.
"In the end we liked the idea of glorifying the shoebox, which is usually hidden away. We pushed it all the way up front. Shoe stores can be more than a piece of glass and a bunch of shelves. It is possible to have a more meaningful experience," he said.