Berlin is a mecca for underground clubs, hidden oases, and specialty shops. The city’s center, Berlin Mitte, is no exception, not only housing the adidas Originals store but also the spacious and elegant boutique known as No74.
This unique store contains only the highest quality adidas products, displaying them in creative and inventive ways in a constantly changing flux of design. Equipped with a store front and a backyard, the space at No74 is quite the treasure for the lucky artists who’ve had a chance to shake it up.
This spring eatmoreshoes headed over to Torstraße and paid No74 a visit to get the low down on the shop; who they were, what they do, how it all got started, and what was planned for the future.
What exactly is No74, an adidas store or a privately owned retailer distributing for adidas?
No74 is handled as an independent store, run by Haeberlein & Mauerrer for the adidas brand.
That sounds like a pretty special arrangement. How did it all start?
The basic idea started in 2006 when we implemented the adicolor studio as a combined workspace and gathering spot for Berlin’s creative people. The concept was super well received and the evolving spirit prompted us to create a steady place for Berlin’s community, this time combined with a product concept.
In the beginning, No74 was developed as a test balloon for three years. This year we already celebrated our third anniversary, so we’re excited for the following years.
No74 is a combination of store, art and work space, gallery and gathering space. A main objective is to offer a constant touch point for the local and global community within each city.
That’s a great mixture of concept and commerce, and the constantly changing nature of the shop is amazing. Starting with the opening installation by Dirk Bonn in March 2008 – which was simple and clean – followed by the busy and colorful oriental market only two months later, the stage was set for quite an exciting place to shop.
Actually the official opening of No74 was Metropol Parasol, a project by architect and designer Juergen Mayer H., accompanied by Berlin band Apparat performing together with artist Raz Ohara. For the opening event the limited Stan Smith Canvas was the only product on display.
Right, that was a drastic interior change, showcasing Juergen Mayer H.’s three-dimensional installation and photography. Then only six months later in January 2009 the store was redecorated again to resemble a house allowing the customers to feel at home?
Yes, exclusively for the House Party at No74, the main store area was redesigned into a living room and kitchenette. Typical items such as furniture, a TV, stereo system, carpet, and fridge were provided. Guests were invited to raid the fridge filled with beer and wine, and snacks and pizza delivery service stopped by regularly.
That was such a good idea, and on the icing on the cake was the backyard. No74 is definitely the only shoe store we know which has its own backyard! When was this first introduced?
During Euro 2008 customers were given the opportunity to watch the games behind the oriental market enjoying a BBQ atmosphere within the No74 backyard.
And the outdoor shack, when was that built?
Following the basic idea of the Consortium 3Way concept, a lovely and cheeful wooden shack was exclusely designed for the Consortium launch to be placed in the backyard of No74. The second drop of the limited Consortium range was sold in the Consortium Shack during the event.
There was even a Girls Night Out event to launch Stella McCartney’s fall and winter collection in August of 2009. That event incorporated the backyard too right?
Correct, adidas by Stella McCartney products were specially integrated within the store concept and the backyard was decorated with a special variety of flowers and baroque furniture.
Then only a month later the store changed for the fourth time in 2009 to showcase the Five-Two-3 installation. What was that about?
That event was held to celebrate the launch of Lodown Magazine. There were several art installations and performances invented and provided by Lowdown and Newskooldisplay.
Following that event was the Torstrasse block party in 2010 which was huge!
It was huge, indeed. We still have the moment in mind when the sun came out and Modeselektor was playing their DJ set. It was an amazing feeling of joy and happiness, all at once.
Is there another block party planned for this year?
No, this year we decided not to implement another Block Party. The one last year was great and we think that it’s hard to repeat the same thing. People still have the last one in their mind… but we’ll see what comes next.
For BBB 2011 – Berlin Bread & Butter, a tradeshow for select fashion brands – we’re planning a little celebration together with our neighbors Soto in front of both stores taking place on July 6th from 6pm to 10pm.
Speaking of fashion, later that year – 2011 – there was a fashion show that “never actually took place” at No74, can you explain this?
The Super Show is a fashion show that can only exist in the pages of Fantastic Man, in an exclusive video installation at No74, and online at www.fantasticman.com. The in-store event at No74 marks the first time that the Fantastic Man crew presented their work in Berlin by celebrating a new season in fashion in collaboration with adidas SLVR.
Wow, the store has gone through so many iterations. What about 2011?
This year the third anniversary of No74 was hosted in collaboration with the Berlin based art collective The Garden. To thank all the people that accompanied No74 over the last three years seventy-four people were invited for an exclusive dinner at the store. No74 was furnished with wooden tables and chairs, and flower deco and candles enriched the atmosphere.
Sounds lovely. It’s truly incredible how often the architecture and interior design changes at No74. What about the products, do those stay the same?
No74 is offering top of the line products from all adidas collections. It’s a contemporary adidas brand window, presenting a focused and exclusive product range including adidas Sport Performance, Y-3, SLVR, adidas by Stella McCartney, adidas Originals (including ObyO, Consortium), as well as limited editions (e.g. Japan-only releases such as the Superstar 80s CLOT) and special collaborations.
What about No6 in London? Is that shop connected to No74?
We’re in regular contact with the No6 Team to align on upcoming releases. Both No6 and No74 are adidas stores embedded in the context of their cities and reflect local circumstances. It has to be mentioned though, that both stores have different objectives, with No74 as a brand window, encompassing all adidas products, and No6 carrying only adidas Originals and special sneaker releases.
Are there any other stores like these two?
So far there are only two stores in Berlin and London, differently converted in due consideration of local conditions and demands. Currently, adidas has no definite plans to create further stores globally that are similar to No74 or No6.
In global cities like New York, Tokyo or Hong Kong especially space is limited… so a concept that is 100% equal to No74 will be hard to implement. Any global concept would have to reflect the local conditions and demands of the certain cities. But let’s see what the future brings.
Lastly, while we’re talking about the future, does the No74 staff have anything up its sleeve for the rest of 2011 or 2012?
Of course there are things in pipeline for 2011 and 2012 that will surprise our community but currently we cannot tell anything. Art Forum Berlin is coming soon… so stay tuned!
We certainly will! Thank you so much for your time and good luck with your summer sales!
written by Dylan Cromwell
photography by Harold Kohn