Aparterre Store in Bucharest by Bogdan Ciocodeica.
Aptly named for its location as well as the design intention, Bogdan Ciocodeica’s Aparterre is a luxe womenswear and lifestyle boutique offering an interpretation of the bespoke retail experience. The concept store’s location couldn’t be more perfect, found on the ground level of a grey-stone-clad private apartment building in Bucharest, the bustling capital of Romania. Within the 150 square metre space, Ciocodeica envisioned a curious imagination of what the clandestine residence of fashion and design lovers would be, thus introducing the space as a fine line between a home and a gallery.
Aparterre’s branding thrives on a personal intimate and sensorial experience, curated ‘to a modern aesthetic by the most influential (Romanian) fashion editors’. The tailored experience is truly reflected in Ciocodeica’s interior vision which is infused with vibrant textures and characteristics that tow between classic and contemporary.
From the outside, the boutique is enveloped by large glass panels, illuminating ampler natural light against the soft colours of the store, providing an illusion of a grand living space. The simple use of glass is repeated towards the back, in which it is used as a generous sliding partition to allow the interior of the store to meld with the store’s private garden. The entire circulation is very much of one briefly lingering at a friend’s residence (in this case Aparterre’s) before enjoying their time in their gardens.
Though the size does seem generous on paper, Aparterre’s footprint matches a gun barrel, beginning with a narrow corridor at the main entry before enlarging into a generous living area. Along with the ample natural lighting, soft colours are chosen to void the possibility of a claustrophobic feeling. Upon entry, soft dusky pink curtains greet at the gentle brush of a hand, which is followed by velvety panels of the same colour that line itself along the wall. Added a layer of softness and playfulness, two life-sized horse silhouettes are collaged on, a simple nod to an exclusive club. Similar texture is found on the plush clementine accent carpet as well.
Along the soft tide of pinks and chevron patterned wooden flooring, dedication to 1980’s Memphis Group is dotted across the floorplan. A selection of red, yellow, and white coloured woodgrain patterned ALPI Sottsass veneer are seen in bespoke joinery and podiums. The veneer, designed by Ettore Sottsass (one of the founders of the Memphis group) for ALPI is celebrated either as seating platforms in the narrow hallway, otherwise as decorative screens and mirrors. The mischief appearance of the store’s grounding elements is the designer’s subtle rebellion to the rigidity and ‘pretentious approach of most high-end fashion stores’.
A homage to the 80s design movement filled with trippy patterns against a free-flowing canvas, Aparterre store offers an alternate taste of interiors for curious patrons. Taste the citrus flavours dappled around and the luxe flavours of strawberries, it’ll certainly emit their branding ‘To be different (is) to be apart’.
[Images courtesy of Bogdan Ciocodeica. Photography by Vlad Patru.]