After rolling out stores across the United States over the past eight years, the luxury clothing and accessories retailer Cole • Haan has begun extending its reach around the world. Shortly after the domestic stores began to open, it launched a series of stores in Asia, and now it’s making its mark in the Middle East. While the number of store locations keeps growing, one thing remains the same—a distinct brand identity that clearly shines through every retail environment from Madison Avenue to the Dubai Mall, where the newest Cole • Haan store recently opened.
The architectural expression of the Cole • Haan brand—a casual chic aesthetic that blends mid-century Modern lines with a high-end beach house vibe—was honed by the international architecture firm Callison, which began designing the retailer’s first-quality stores in the United States almost nine years ago. Later the firm designed the prototypes for the Nike-owned,
Dartmouth, Maine-based retailer’s factory stores, and Callison’s Seattle office designed this store in Dubai, too. “We made every attempt to make the Dubai store as much like the domestic stores as possible,” says Cindi Kato, Callison’s project manager for the Cole • Haan projects.
And so, the classic features that characterize the first-quality Cole • Haan stores in other parts of the globe—the rich orange, high-gloss lacquer door, the polished chrome window mullions, and the custom-designed chrome and lacquer display fixtures—establish the retailer’s brand identity in the Dubai store, as well. The size of these stores generally runs between 2,500-3,000 sq. ft., and the standard square footage carried over to the Dubai store, too. “If there were any finish changes, they were made by elevating the materials and aligning them with what’s expected in a luxury setting in Dubai,” says Kato. A finish change of note in this location is the floor material. In the U.S. stores, wide-plank wood floors are the standard. In the Middle East, floors in high-end settings are made of stone, so here the designers chose a pale Italian stone called Padova. Yet, in keeping with the spirit of the brand, it was cut in long horizontal bands to mimic the lines of wood planks.
Another cultural twist to some of the stores in the Middle East is the layout. Since Cole • Haan started out as a men’s brand, but now caters to both men and women with clothing, shoes, and accessories, merchandise for both genders is presented in every store. The accessories are presented up front, and the circulation paths flow through the open plan, past the men’s section in the middle and the women’s section in the back. In the Middle Eastern context, however, men’s and women’s activities often are segregated, so in some locations in this part of the world the women’s salons are positioned in the front and distinctly divided from the men’s salon in the rear. Here, though, the standard flow was preserved. And fabric-covered floor-to-ceiling panels—printed with branches, stripes, or floral motifs—divide one area of the store from another, lending a quiet sense of distinct identity to each.
While this Cole • Haan store is the first to open in Dubai, others have opened in other parts of the Middle East, including Saudi Arabia and Kuwait. With two to four stores planned to roll out in the region per year over the next few years, the Cole • Haan brand is now poised to firmly plant itself in this part of the world, too.
Project/owner: Cole Haan. Interior Desiger: Callison/ Seattle; Bonetti Kozerski Studio. Contractor: Gulf Dynamic Services. MEP Consultants: Hargis Engineers. Lighting Design: Lighting Design Alliance. Photographer: Callison/Chris Eden
Wallcoverings: MDC Wallcoverings. Paint: Benjamin Moore/ Pratt & Lambert.
Laminate: Pionite. Flooring: Statements Distinctive Tile & Stone. Storefront stone: Innovative Marble & Tile. Carpet/carpet tile: Masland. Lighting: Lighting Design. Doors: Goebel Fixtures Co. Lounge seating: Goebel Fixtures Co. Women’s upholstery: Castel.
Men’s Upholstery: A H Calvin Fabrics. Signage: Infinite Sign Industries. Fixtures: Goebel Fixtures Co.
Location: Dubai, UAE. Total floor area: 2,500 – 3,000 sq. ft. No. of floors: one.