Text description provided by the architects. London-based fashion brand COS opens its first store in Chicago located on Oak Street, housing womenswear, menswear and childrenswear collections across three floors and 5,700 square feet of sales area. For the first COS flagship location in Chicago, COS’ in-house team of architects, engineers, and interior designers set out to create a functional and contemporary space inspired by the 20th-century architecture for which the city is known.
The in-house architectural team worked on multiple feasibility studies to ensure the structural limitations of the plot were well utilized, in the end opting for a building that spans four floors. The store’s striking facade takes the form of a sophisticated curtain wall, comprised by three overlapping grids, each designed to frame a specific perspective of the city.
The exterior pays homage to the minimalist architectural history of the city, with glass and steel sections ribboned throughout. Its minimal frames were custom designed in partnership with a structural engineer, interlocking to bear the facade’s entire load to the ground, without any additional structural support.
The interior design of the Oak Street store aligns with the COS aesthetic of clean, modern lines in combination with natural elements, creating an atmosphere that is dynamic, calm and with a contemporary look. The grey tones and subtle materials implemented throughout the project act as a blank canvas, creating a complementary backdrop for the COS collection.
Another element unique to this location is the carefully considered stairwell built as a multifunctional gallery space. Bespoke poured terrazzo flooring, gray Corian surfaces and specially designed lighting on each soffit were installed to create an even lighting result and to act as a suitable foundation to support exhibitions.
The architectural team approaches the design of each COS store with a sensitivity to the alignment of the brand aesthetic, also taking into account the history of the surroundings and cultural context of the store’s location. Aligned with the brand’s art heritage, the project’s main purpose was not only with commercial intentions but also cultural, intending to create a relaxing and inspiring space for visitors.