Kowtow, Wellington

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The flagship store for ethical clothing brand Kowtow in the New Zealand capital, which opened 11 years after the fashion brand was founded, is set within a former bakery.

Until now the brand has exclusively operated online, so for the design of its first bricks-and-mortar store, they tasked Auckland-based interior design studio Knight Associates to create a space that reflected their eco-friendly ethos.

The store articulates minimalism, simplicity and generosity. From the outside, two large windows frame the space. Instead of traditional displays, passersby have an open and transparent view of the store’s day to day life.

“We were excited to work with James Dunlop as sustainability and traceability is core to what we do and he wanted to execute that in the design. Every detail was considered”

– Gosia Piatex - Founder & Creative Director 

The store articulates minimalism, simplicity and generosity. From the outside, two large windows frame the space. Instead of traditional displays, passerbys have an open and transparent view of the store’s day to day life.

Floor to ceiling structures divide the space with rhythm and support a bespoke racking system, while display shelves punctuate the space. The point of sale anchors the space and invites conversation.

“It was important that areas of the store were not closed off to the senses,” explained Knight.

“The use of the textiles enabled permeability of light, sound, and vision, meaning space could maintain a sense of singularity and cohesiveness.” 

Knight was heavily influenced by architect Kengo Kuma’s Prostho Museum Research Center. This building in Nagoya, Japan, features a similar timber lattice facade and also uses Chidori, a Japanese joinery technique that omits the use of nails or mechanical fixings.

“These references seemed to coalesce into something that was tactical and poetic, but functional. It was then researching how this could be realised using sustainable materials,” added Knight.

The designers traded a pair of windows on the store’s facade for large panels of frameless glazing so that passersby can have a more open view of the activities taking place within the store.

The space has been dressed with a modular sofa, which sits on top of a dark grey rug crafted from salvaged materials like fishing nets. Overhead hangs an oversized lamp produced by Japanese company Ozeki & Co, which has specialised in the craft of paper lanterns since the late 19th century.

Every aspect of the store has been selected with sustainability in mind:

• Sustainably grown, harvested and milled eucalyptus, finished by hand with an non-toxic, eco friendly Osmo hardwax oil.

• Point of sale and display units are made from valchromat, a FSC certified product made with post industrial recycled wood chips and aimed at reducing environmental impact.

• Handmade ceramic tiles by local artist, Gidon Bing.

• Floor rugs made from salvaged and recycled synthetics, including fishing nets recovered from the ocean.

• Modular sofas designed by Simon James and upholstered with renewable and compostable fibres: virgin wool blends.

• Linen curtains that have been sustainably grown, harvested and processed using the environmentally friendly dew-retting method.

• Hotaru Buoy pendant lights designed by Barber & Osgerby and manufactured by Ozeki & Co Ltd., a celebrated Japanese company dedicated to making paper lanterns since 1891.

Design & Concept - Rufus Knight & Kowtow
Architects - Makers of Architecture
Fit Out - Makers of Fabrication
Photographer - Simon Wilson

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Kowtow, Wellington

The flagship store for ethical clothing brand Kowtow in the New Zealand capital, which opened 11 years after the fashion brand was founded, is set within a former bakery.

Until now the brand has exclusively operated online, so for the design of its first bricks-and-mortar store, they tasked Auckland-based interior design studio Knight Associates to create a space that reflected their eco-friendly ethos.

The store articulates minimalism, simplicity and generosity. From the outside, two large windows frame the space. Instead of traditional displays, passersby have an open and transparent view of the store’s day to day life.

“We were excited to work with James Dunlop as sustainability and traceability is core to what we do and he wanted to execute that in the design. Every detail was considered”

– Gosia Piatex - Founder & Creative Director 

The store articulates minimalism, simplicity and generosity. From the outside, two large windows frame the space. Instead of traditional displays, passerbys have an open and transparent view of the store’s day to day life.

Floor to ceiling structures divide the space with rhythm and support a bespoke racking system, while display shelves punctuate the space. The point of sale anchors the space and invites conversation.

“It was important that areas of the store were not closed off to the senses,” explained Knight.

“The use of the textiles enabled permeability of light, sound, and vision, meaning space could maintain a sense of singularity and cohesiveness.” 

Knight was heavily influenced by architect Kengo Kuma’s Prostho Museum Research Center. This building in Nagoya, Japan, features a similar timber lattice facade and also uses Chidori, a Japanese joinery technique that omits the use of nails or mechanical fixings.

“These references seemed to coalesce into something that was tactical and poetic, but functional. It was then researching how this could be realised using sustainable materials,” added Knight.

The designers traded a pair of windows on the store’s facade for large panels of frameless glazing so that passersby can have a more open view of the activities taking place within the store.

The space has been dressed with a modular sofa, which sits on top of a dark grey rug crafted from salvaged materials like fishing nets. Overhead hangs an oversized lamp produced by Japanese company Ozeki & Co, which has specialised in the craft of paper lanterns since the late 19th century.

Every aspect of the store has been selected with sustainability in mind:

• Sustainably grown, harvested and milled eucalyptus, finished by hand with an non-toxic, eco friendly Osmo hardwax oil.

• Point of sale and display units are made from valchromat, a FSC certified product made with post industrial recycled wood chips and aimed at reducing environmental impact.

• Handmade ceramic tiles by local artist, Gidon Bing.

• Floor rugs made from salvaged and recycled synthetics, including fishing nets recovered from the ocean.

• Modular sofas designed by Simon James and upholstered with renewable and compostable fibres: virgin wool blends.

• Linen curtains that have been sustainably grown, harvested and processed using the environmentally friendly dew-retting method.

• Hotaru Buoy pendant lights designed by Barber & Osgerby and manufactured by Ozeki & Co Ltd., a celebrated Japanese company dedicated to making paper lanterns since 1891.

Design & Concept - Rufus Knight & Kowtow
Architects - Makers of Architecture
Fit Out - Makers of Fabrication
Photographer - Simon Wilson

Visit professional's website
Enquire about the process / fees
Contact details

Products in this project

Professionals used on this project

Also from James Dunlop Textiles

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Done tagging
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Kowtow, Wellington

The flagship store for ethical clothing brand Kowtow in the New Zealand capital, which opened 11 years after the fashion brand was founded, is set within a former bakery.

Until now the brand has exclusively operated online, so for the design of its first bricks-and-mortar store, they tasked Auckland-based interior design studio Knight Associates to create a space that reflected their eco-friendly ethos.

The store articulates minimalism, simplicity and generosity. From the outside, two large windows frame the space. Instead of traditional displays, passersby have an open and transparent view of the store’s day to day life.

“We were excited to work with James Dunlop as sustainability and traceability is core to what we do and he wanted to execute that in the design. Every detail was considered”

– Gosia Piatex - Founder & Creative Director 

The store articulates minimalism, simplicity and generosity. From the outside, two large windows frame the space. Instead of traditional displays, passerbys have an open and transparent view of the store’s day to day life.

Floor to ceiling structures divide the space with rhythm and support a bespoke racking system, while display shelves punctuate the space. The point of sale anchors the space and invites conversation.

“It was important that areas of the store were not closed off to the senses,” explained Knight.

“The use of the textiles enabled permeability of light, sound, and vision, meaning space could maintain a sense of singularity and cohesiveness.” 

Knight was heavily influenced by architect Kengo Kuma’s Prostho Museum Research Center. This building in Nagoya, Japan, features a similar timber lattice facade and also uses Chidori, a Japanese joinery technique that omits the use of nails or mechanical fixings.

“These references seemed to coalesce into something that was tactical and poetic, but functional. It was then researching how this could be realised using sustainable materials,” added Knight.

The designers traded a pair of windows on the store’s facade for large panels of frameless glazing so that passersby can have a more open view of the activities taking place within the store.

The space has been dressed with a modular sofa, which sits on top of a dark grey rug crafted from salvaged materials like fishing nets. Overhead hangs an oversized lamp produced by Japanese company Ozeki & Co, which has specialised in the craft of paper lanterns since the late 19th century.

Every aspect of the store has been selected with sustainability in mind:

• Sustainably grown, harvested and milled eucalyptus, finished by hand with an non-toxic, eco friendly Osmo hardwax oil.

• Point of sale and display units are made from valchromat, a FSC certified product made with post industrial recycled wood chips and aimed at reducing environmental impact.

• Handmade ceramic tiles by local artist, Gidon Bing.

• Floor rugs made from salvaged and recycled synthetics, including fishing nets recovered from the ocean.

• Modular sofas designed by Simon James and upholstered with renewable and compostable fibres: virgin wool blends.

• Linen curtains that have been sustainably grown, harvested and processed using the environmentally friendly dew-retting method.

• Hotaru Buoy pendant lights designed by Barber & Osgerby and manufactured by Ozeki & Co Ltd., a celebrated Japanese company dedicated to making paper lanterns since 1891.

Design & Concept - Rufus Knight & Kowtow
Architects - Makers of Architecture
Fit Out - Makers of Fabrication
Photographer - Simon Wilson

Visit professional's website
Enquire about the process / fees
Contact details

Professionals used on this project

Done tagging
Full screen