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Pop-up store in an elegant aluminium look

A big-name designer is using profile technology from item for pop-up stores on four different continents.

 “Good design isn’t just nice to look at, it also fulfills a purpose,” says Spanish designer Tomás Alonso, describing his artistic approach. This symbiosis of form and function is evident in all the objects he designs, which range from home furniture and exhibition pieces in prestigious galleries and museums to luxury articles such as marble and crystal bowls. As our blog entry on the D30 racks showed, Profile Tube System D30 also combines stylish aesthetics with functionality. Alonso agreed and decided to use it as a basis for showcasing the sports products of a high-end customer in the best possible light.

Design at item: functional, timeless and award-winning

Universal compatability and product design from a single mould are what distinguishes item. Find out all about the team and the philosophy behind this unique look in the multimedia story.

A lifelong passion for design

Tomás Alonso is a true cosmopolitan. At the age of 19, his love of design saw him set out from his home country of Spain on an international artistic expedition. After travelling through the USA, Italy and Australia, he arrived in the British capital. While there, he studied and graduated at the distinguished Royal College of Art. Soon afterward, he set up his own studio in a former  piano factory in east London, which he shared with five other members of artist’s collective “OKAY STUDIO”, which he co-founded.

The “Tomás Alonso Design Studio” produces minimalistic objects of all types, many of which show traces of one of his main sources of inspiration, Italian designer Achille Castiglioni (1918 – 2002). Castiglioni once summed up his passion for functionality in one simple and concise sentence: “so sophisticated and so simple – that’s what I like!” Alonso doesn’t make distinctions between art and commercial endeavours and creates works for design exhibitions, pieces for art festivals and products for well-known brands. He has completed successful projects for customers including IKEA and Swarovski. Despite his young age, his passion for design has helped him secure numerous awards such as the “2013 Designer of the Year” (AD Magazin, Spain) and “Young Designer of the Year” (Elle Deco Japan) in 2012.

A top-end cycling sport brand

UK company Rapha and its staff are passionate about cycling. In the space of just a few years, the company, which sells cycling clothing and accessories, has grown from a little-known start-up to a high-end brand in its segment. Its dedication to cycling sport comes through on every level, which is why the global Rapha Cycling Club (RCC) numbers more than 7000 members. Every Wednesday, employees mount their cycles in the morning and head out. The London headquarters also incorporate a clubhouse that showcases cycling all day long. There is even a dedicated, in-house cycle workshop there.

In view of all that, it’s no surprise that Rapha isn’t content to settle for just “the norm” when it comes to its marketing and how it presents its products at the point of sale. Pop-up stores are an integral part of the company’s marketing strategy. These are the exact opposite of a permanent, bricks-and-mortar shop. Pop-up stores are set up for short periods in empty properties and spaces and rely primarily on word of mouth to attract customers. Another advantage to this approach, besides the low rent costs, is that it offers an outstanding opportunity to test out new markets. The Rapha pop-up stores are a kind of hybrid, falling somewhere between a product showcase and art installation and comprising several structures.

Flexible and thoroughly elegant pop-up store

Tomás Alonso was given the task of designing a furniture kit that could be easily assembled and disassembled to become a traveling pop-up store. Due to the fundamentally temporary nature of the shops, the designer faced a number of very unique challenges. “The structure had to be adapted to suit each and every new site, so flexibility was a crucial factor. At the same time, you need material that is both flexible and exceptionally stable,” explains Alonso. In view of those requirements, it didn’t take long for him to choose our Profile Tube System D30 which, as he himself says, impressed him with “its technical properties and streamlined look.” Objects such as tables, chairs and frame constructions had to fit seamlessly into the sales environment.

It was perfect for our needs, as it provided an even smoother look.

There was another factor that appealed to Alonso – “the internal fastener had just been launched onto the market. It was perfect for our needs, as it provided an even smoother look.” Another benefit was that the profiles are also available in a black version. Promotional activities are always tied into brand colours and, since black is the colour of choice for Rapha, the black profile was a perfect fit for the company’s style. Combined with wooden elements and black-and-white photographs of cycling heroes, it helped produce an exciting overall look. For example, a semicircular seating area was surrounded by large photos to create a cycling live racing area within the store panorama, as well as a café area. In fact, the entire pop-up store is designed to allow for flexibility and to create different atmospheres within one space in a very clean, reduced way.

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