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Lululemon's design represents 'teaching by example'.

Lululemon is both a company and a concept. Within the walls of their 100 stores and showrooms, employees are educators, customers are guests, and trainers are ambassadors; everyone's native tongue is the universal language of green. Lululemon's original vision was to be a community hub to provide guests with knowledge, tools and the components for people to live longer, healthier and more fulfilling lives.

Twenty years since its conception, Lululemon is taking their message one step further by urging that environmental and personal health be one in the same. Lululemon teamed up with Kenneth Park Architects to strengthen its presence with the opening of its third Manhattan outpost in Soho.

Lululemon is teaching by example; the construction of the Broadway store incorporated sustainable design in hopes of encouraging consumers to adopt both a green and healthy living philosophy.

Lululemon and Kenneth Park Architects fashioned a visual identity that was aligned with the brand's essence. The design of the store took inspiration from yoga with a focus on balance, harmony, and culture; the decor is beautiful in its simplicity and the materials chosen represent the connection to the natural world. The store features expanded apparel and gear offerings in a revitalized store format deliberately created as a hub to share experiences and create a sense of community.

The Soho location started with Lululemon signature staples: a zen environment, an array of natural elements, and a palette of earthy tones accented with vibrant reds yellows, and blues. The dynamic orange hue that covers the walls glows from the reflection of the sun streaming in from the windowed storefront and from the oversized original sky lights. Light makes for a central design statement in this intimate setting. Sun exposure and natural light calls for soft, indirect lighting without harshness or glare as well as reducing dependency on electricity.

Kenneth Park Architects incorporated Lululemon's conservationist passion and extended the company's vow to maintain innovative and sustainable apparel to the design of the Soho studio. The lighting used ensures a high quality illumination, while using a smaller percentage of electricity than standard spot lights; thus reducing the heat load in the store significantly. The floor is made from recycled Douglas Fir laminated beans taken from old buildings and is finished with an oil stain as opposed to varathene. All paint used throughout the 2.670 sfspace was specially formulated to release fewer chemicals into the air. The Benjamin Moore Eco-Spec paint is both green seal and green guard certified, thus low emitting and has minimal impact on indoor air quality. Finally, educators use tea tree oil, a non-toxic broad spectrum germicide, to clean mats and surfaces; the oil has natural solvent properties that makes it a biodegradable cleaning product. Lululemon plans to build all future stores to LEED standards, in addition to pledging to be 100% waste free to reduce their carbon footprint. Lululemon and Kenneth Park Architects are committed to designing in good conscience.

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Lululemon places a premium on functionality and thus Kenneth Park Architects designed with the duality of space in mind; the retail store doubles as a yoga studio offering complimentary in-store yoga series taught by top area instructors.

Kenneth Park Architects outfitted :he store with tools that not only help the store succeed, but also for customers to achieve personal success. Merchandise is set upon racks and displays with wheels; the mobility of the displays allows for the store to be cleared effortlessly and quickly to be transformed into a full-service studio. The smooth wood flooring is conducive for yoga mats, bare feet, and accommodates the heat and humidity of the studio, while offering some padding and slip resistance. The store is merchandised to showcase the unique way of incorporating fashion into athletics; vignettes of the yoga lifestyle are on display with nods towards sports and nature.

The design also integrates signage as inspiration quotes straight from the Lululemon 31-point manifesto, non-toxic, anti-dust, washable chalk drawings of New York City landmarks, and photographs depicting exquisite yoga postures preformed by neighborhood leaders line the walls. Lululemon sets guests up for an organic experience with scattered orchids, potted plants, and a filtered water system with recyclable glasses.

Strategic selection and placement of color, lighting, and furnishings all partner to reflect the spirit of the happenings in the space. All and all, Kenneth Park designed a space that has widespread visual appeal, while staying true to the brand's notion of functionality and sustainability.
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Title Annotation:INSIDE CONSTRUCTION & DESIGN
Comment:Lululemon's design represents 'teaching by example'.(INSIDE CONSTRUCTION & DESIGN)
Author:Stackman, Amanda
Publication:Real Estate Weekly
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Dec 17, 2008
Words:741
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