Marimekko’s new flagship store on Fifth Avenue in the Flatiron district is a kaleidoscope of color. Unlike its Scandinavian neighbor Ikea, which features solids and placement prints, Marimekko’s Finnish founders infuse eye-popping patterns and bold stripes onto a wide range of product categories.
The store seems to be taking a page from Coke’s playbook and selling something everyone wants: happiness. When you walk by the window, it feels like a ray of sunshine just delivered a dose of joy and relaxation. It’s the kind of carefree feeling you might have experienced painting with big brushes and bright colors as a child.
Everything about the window display makes you want to hit pause on your busy day and step inside. Bolts of Marimekko’s colorful patterned fabrics hang in the window like celebratory banners. Just below small groupings of throw pillows invite you to come inside and relax. Thanks to over-sized picture windows and a display that isn’t too crowded, you can still look right inside the bustling store.
From the moment you walk in the door, the product benefit is clear: exceptional design. With a rich 60-year history, Marimekko’s signature patterns (florals, stripes and dots) are instantly recognizable. The patterns are placed on everything from bedding and tabletop to bath and kids’ apparel. There are even Marimekko Converse sneakers! This wide range of categories allows longtime fans and new devotees to enjoy Marimekko in any room of the house
Products are easy to pick up and feel (most are free of packaging), and the minimal display signage does not compete for attention. Store displays are simultaneously compulsive and visionary, with clean white cube shelves and light wooden tables stocked with merchandise in perfectly aligned rows, columns, and stacks. Relaxing music invites you to linger and imagine.
Decorative home products are displayed right up to the high ceiling, yet ample white space on the walls helps prevent a cluttered feeling. A few apparel samples are on hangers with additional stock folded on adjacent shelves. Adjustable shelves provide maximum flexibility, and extra inventory is tucked inside drawers, borrowing a page from designer boutiques like Prada. Store associates sport black-and-white striped shirts and smiles.
The overall result is a breath of fresh air. Want to experience it for yourself but can’t make the trip to the store? Watch this video of all those fun and playful fabrics being printed instead.
Photography by: Neilson Barnard / Getty Images North America
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