When Crumpler asked Ryan Russell of Russell & George to design four new store interiors, his response was to use materials from the Crumpler bags – but in a completely unexpected way.
Two years ago, iconic urban bag brand Crumpler made some major changes, with creative director Sam Davy at the forefront of the movement. These changes are now coming to fruition and the results are truly refreshing. Crumpler had over seventy individual products when Davy started. This was cut back to approximately half, then new products were added with simplified colour combinations and functions to target markets not previously explored. New products on the shelves broadened the Crumpler demographic to include photographers, high school students, parents, office workers and everyone in between. Along with its new products, a roll out of new stores adds to the brand’s revised image.
With a long list of award-winning interior spaces for some well-known international brands, Ryan Russell of Russell & George was approached to take on the challenge of the new store concepts. Russell lists the project among the most “invigorating and exciting design experiences” of his career.
He goes on to describe Davy as “one of those rare clients who understands the impact of design and is also not afraid of anything to do with it. The Crumpler design process has been truly collaborative and remains a process that continues to evolve and challenge the design outcome.” The Melbourne store was designed first, but that didn’t stop the creative process: for the Perth store, Davy and Russell sat down in the middle of the empty space and covered the floor with sketches on trace paper. Since then, Sydney and New York stores have also opened, both designed by Russell.
In the Melbourne store, the space is robust and industrial, and not at all precious. Red webbing, the same material used on the bag strap, is employed for the shopfront and suspended display systems. This was the brand’s first store inside a shopping centre and, thanks to the high security offered by this environment, they decided not to use glass in the shopfront but to simply enclose the space with the webbing material. A red “grandstand” with adjustable handrails surrounds the perimeter of the store, made of the same powdercoated steel used to create rigid frames in Crumpler’s larger travel items, and rubber that is usually used in the bags’ internal linings creates a resilient layer for flat display areas. A large plywood island bench in the centre of the store promotes interaction between staff and customers.
Each of the stores was designed to respond to its respective context and demographic, but the basic concept remained the same, with individual colour themes setting each apart. The Sydney store at the Strand arcade uses black, for example. “The weaving and suspension process of the webbing is continually explored to create new opportunities in each individual design response, yet through its use ensures each individual site references the others, reinforcing the core Crumpler brand values,” explains Russell. “The external environment of the store is highly considered and designed to be engaged with in a dynamic yet playful way.”
The result of the new Crumpler approach is that it now attracts a wider market, with a product and brand identity firmly positioned at the forefront of design.