COEF Utrecht

Concept and Design in collaboration with Carbon Studio
250 sqm
Open since May 2020
Photography by Maarten Willemstein


With their new shops for clothing brand COEF, KUUB and Carbon Studio utilized the potentials of the location and the new program to the max, in order to create a special shop experience.
They apply subtle combinations of unusual materials, texture, colour and shape. There is a clear contrast between the historical buildings and the new interventions and the two are well balanced: the authentic, familiar versus the friendly contemporary, spectacular.

The COEF-shop is located in Drakenborch at the Oudegracht 114 in Utrecht. Built in the 12th Century, this urban castle is the oldest residence of the Netherlands and a National Monument.

• As the building is a monument, walls and ceilings need to stay unrevised. The skew walls however, are dysfunctional. In conclusion the designers made a drastic decision: the whole shop had to ‘emerge’ from the floor.
• Erecting from the floor up also forms the base for the circular design: the shop can be easily dissembled. All applied materials have a low environmental impact and are easy to recycle: untreated metal, recycled leather and marmoleum.
• The recurring visual and functional elements are circles and spheres, which refers to the original beam paintwork.

All functional elements like installation technique, electrical system and the constructive base, are implemented in the floor. The marmoleum floor has a black steel grid carpet, and this explicit floor forms the aesthetic base for the shop interior. The circular shapes literally soften the steel system. The modular furniture elements are plugged into the floor.
Zones without grid carpet mark the main route and guide visitors to various spaces.

The principal space is a varied landscape with street-lamps and four meter high furniture pieces in harmony with the architecture. A five meter high sneakerwall – materialised as an inversion of the floor - marks the staircase to the souterrain and leads visitors to the basement vaults.

The ‘little room’ is an intense space with a special floor, fireplace, murals and roof construction. The murals narrate a Romeo and Julliet like story about the dispute between two reigning families Van Drackenborch and Van Oudaen who dominated both sides of the Oudegracht in the 12th Century.

In the dark and low basement vaults, mirrors, glass, white tiles and light lines give a spatial effect. Arching lights accentuate the vault shape and the central island. In this space the colours stay raw in line with the street wear collection that is exposed here. The display island contains various glass layers and mirrors for a transparent and kaleidoscopic product presentation.

link to Designboom Publication

link to PI Publication