Shu 2007

002

After the success of Two TwentyTwo, the late fashion entrepreneur Desmond Vella called in the office one morning excited about a new shoe shop in Valletta.

We briskly walked to the site, only to arrive to a tiny 20-square-metre room with an underlying basement. When he said it would showcase a minimum of 70 pairs of shoes and store a further 700 to make financial sense, I seriously thought he was taking us for a ride, and didn’t think too much about it. But he kept on calling and insisting that we unleash some crazy creative idea and come up with a concept.

So one light-hearted afternoon, on a restaurant napkin, Briffa sketched a giant staircase with shoes and people perched on its threads, which somehow would combine display, seating, storage and all services into one.

Sadly, Desmond passed away a couple of years later – a day before his 35th birthday – and SHU soon fell into the hands of others, to be dismantled and reduced once again to the tiny room.

Images by David Pisani, Ali Tollervey.

We imagined shoppers walking up, down and around the stairs, choosing their favourite shoes and actually sitting next to them to try them on, rather than looking at the merchandise through a glass on a shelf.

The experience of being surrounded by the products, together with the constantly changing vistas while exploring the shop would enhance both the shopper and the shopped in a surreal, stepped space reminiscent of Japanese shoe-box architecture adorned by traditional Maltese textures; wrought iron railings, the Maltese eight-pointed cross, traditional lace.

Des loved the idea, and in a few weeks he commenced site works while we were still finishing our detail drawings, and in a couple of months we launched SHU – a staircase cum showcase cum shoe store which received loads of attention from the media and several international publications.

 

SHU INFO

 

SHU 2007

002

After the success of Two TwentyTwo, the late fashion entrepreneur Desmond Vella called in the office one morning excited about a new shoe shop in Valletta.

We briskly walked to the site, only to arrive to a tiny 20-square-metre room with an underlying basement. When he said it would showcase a minimum of 70 pairs of shoes and store a further 700 to make financial sense, I seriously thought he was taking us for a ride, and didn’t think too much about it. But he kept on calling and insisting that we unleash some crazy creative idea and come up with a concept.

So one light-hearted afternoon, on a restaurant napkin, Briffa sketched a giant staircase with shoes and people perched on its threads, which somehow would combine display, seating, storage and all services into one.

We imagined shoppers walking up, down and around the stairs, choosing their favourite shoes and actually sitting next to them to try them on, rather than looking at the merchandise through a glass on a shelf.

The experience of being surrounded by the products, together with the constantly changing vistas while exploring the shop would enhance both the shopper and the shopped in a surreal, stepped space reminiscent of Japanese shoe-box architecture adorned by traditional Maltese textures; wrought iron railings, the Maltese eight-pointed cross, traditional lace.

SHU INFO

Des loved the idea, and in a few weeks he commenced site works while we were still finishing our detail drawings, and in a couple of months we launched SHU – a staircase cum showcase cum shoe store which received loads of attention from the media and several international publications.

Sadly, Desmond passed away a couple of years later – a day before his 35th birthday – and SHU soon fell into the hands of others, to be dismantled and reduced once again to the tiny room.

PROJECT TEAM: Chris Briffa, Marcia Calleja Haber, Bernard Vella.

Images by David Pisani, Ali Tollervey.