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NEEDS&WANTS Container 01

I just read an article on The Business of Fashion about consumers soon having the technology to 3D print their own designs. Crazy. Thats another conversation in itself. I was just walking through the new wing of Yorkdale Mall that recently underwent a $30 million dollar expansion. Thirty M's. Everything is becoming so grand, and it could be just me but I think there's even more pressure on larger retailers to keep up with the market and the attention of modern consumers. Remember Target? Damn. As a smaller brand, it only makes sense to be creative with retail; especially if you don't have the resources to open and close store locations nationwide and still be in business. The concept of a pop up shop is quite common today, but I imagine there is room to take the concept of mobile retailing further. Our first shipping container space was completed in June and has since been embedded into off-the-grid locations as initially intended.

This is not a pop up shop. The idea here is that the retail/showroom experience could exist everywhere most retail commonly doesn't. My friends would often suggest we open up downtown, in the middle of Trinity Bellwoods, where any and everyone could find us. Nah, too accessible, too visible, too easy. The sound of birds chirping as I opened the store in the middle of nowhere is exactly what I'd want someone else to experience once they found the space.

Above: Because we’re working with such small space, details like our choice in furniture have to be functional. Our coffee table, for example, turns into a laptop desk once its turned on its side. We imported our rack from Belgium, and it literally just leans on the wall. Our engineered wood panelling on the walls and ceiling are ideal for the outdoors as wood tends to shift depending on weather conditions. Photo c/o James C Lee.

Normally, containers are have one entrance point, but we installed a second garage door entrance to maximize on as much natural light as possible. The two adjacent windows are also an advantage for natural light depending on direction we position the unit. The best result for lighting are when the windows face North and South. The herringbone floor was really an aesthetic decision; that European touch. We also have full power source and LED linear slot lights for evening hours.

Accessibility was actually the easy part if you were willing to paste the coordinates into your Google maps after joining our newsletter. The live map we built as a micro-site makes getting to each of our locations pretty easy. A friend of mine was on the train and saw a white box glowing in the middle of the forest. He got off at that subway stop and walked over from the bridge. Prior to that, he didn't have any coordinates or location info about the space, he was just curious and by chance stumbled upon us. Thats how he found it—discovery. I'm not trying to be long-winded here, my point is that there is a coming of age in which the point-of-sale is the last thing a brand does. The first thing will be sensory communication. How does the brand (not the product) make someone feel?

Above: The container's exterior offers a mystique to those passing by. The mirrored glazing on each opposing side allows us to see outward but there is minimal visibility into the space from the outside. When deciding on location, we take into consideration the backdrop and how the space will transform itself from an industrial piece of corrugated steel, into a minimal accent among nature's surround. Photos c/o Michael Rousseau.

Below: Marco Lee's preliminary sketches of our next container for 2017. Twice the size and even more ambitious than our initial effort. Our first container was designed for land, our next will be designed for water.

Technology will continue to make everyday interaction faster; there's no doubting it, or escaping it. We'll all have to adapt. However, that doesn't mean that through evolution we can't find balance. A balance between online and offline experiences. Lines are for blurring and rules for breaking—and rewriting. You can thrive online with the technology made available, while bridging endless possibilities offline.