Checkland Kindleysides designed Nixon’s New York store located at 122 Prince Street, Soho. The design for Nixon’s first NYC store follows the ‘Horizon line’ concept that CK created for the brand. As with their Paris and London stores, Prince Street features unique design elements that differentiate it from the other sites.From the monochromatic exterior, passers-by have a clear view into the store, with window showcases featuring their latest watches. Inside, ‘new release’ product campaigns are presented in a dedicated area.
The Nixon store is about immersion, a subtle reference to the ocean’s rhythm and flow, but this also relates to product immersion. This is reflected in the merchandising, where CK created an artful watch presentation which provides a sculptural centrepiece in the store. 72 watches are displayed rhythmically on undulating plinths, partly immersed below the surface of an under-lit aqua blue tank; they punch through the glass top, appearing to float on the surface.
This also demonstrated a step change from traditional watch merchandising, where watches are displayed behind glass. Nixon felt it was really important that their watches were accessible, encouraging customers play with the product unassisted.
Adjacent to this sculptural centrepiece, a large footwear inspired ‘watch wall,’ Nixon’s largest to date, displays 144 No. watches on a tinted glass matrix; this is set against a watch tile backdrop – with tiles inspired by the original tooling used to cast Nixon watch cases, which gives a sense of the craftsmanship behind the making of Nixon products. Like the ‘watch wave’ the display is open and accessible.
Like the others stores, Prince Street also features a ‘custom bar,’ which is located at the back of the store. At the customization bar the store’s clientele celebrate ‘designed in California, customised in New York’ by following the step by step guide of how to create their own customised watch, choosing elements for their own unique watches from a palette of component parts of watch faces, straps, cases and engraved detailing options. Their bespoke watch is made in front of them, while they wait, before the ‘curator’ carefully packs it into the bespoke packaging.
With the change in materials, the customisation area appears to have been dropped into the space like a wooden packing case. Constructed from plywood panels and punched steel pegboard, it has a temporary workshop aesthetic and also provides a material reference to skate and street culture. This contrasts against the concrete that is used at the front of the store, providing a distinct line which provides a vertical divide, as well as ‘horizon line’ around the store, which is unique to this site.
With a nod to Nixon’s roots, the customisation and RSVP area of the store takes inspiration from construction of the underside of skate bowls. The ribs of the structure create an inverted exoskeleton which wraps around the space creating a really intimate atmosphere. The other focus in the rear area of the store is Nixon’s premium Swiss-made ‘RSVP’ line of limited edition watches. With four watch silhouettes, reimagined with unpredictable elements and colour-ways, once they’re gone, they’re gone and customers have to wait of the next launch. The RSVP collection is displayed within the skeletal structure which creates individual pigeonholes, each presenting a single product on a colour co-ordinated block. Alongside customers can display RSVP watches side by side to spend a little more time to play and consider their purchase.