Counterfeit Studio designed the unique flagship store recently acquired by Tessuti in the iconic Liverpool ONE. Tessuti’s 37-year history is built on the same passion for sourcing the latest high-end designer brands as its customers. Born out of a desire for self-expression, escapism and aspiration, these values are as relevant today as they have always been and formed a crucial idea for Counterfeit Studio as the basis of its creative response.
“It was clear early on in the briefing stages with the client team that any new direction for Tesutti had to resonate deeply with their client,” commented Counterfeit Studio founder Murray Aitken. “To do this, we determined that the solution was to create a responsive store that could easily present launches or activations in a clear and authoritative way – a flexible, dynamic and digital platform to showcase new and established brands.”
Given Liverpool’s unique sense of identity, for this particular site, Counterfeit Studio took inspiration from the city’s rich culture to set a site-specific tone. Rather than focusing on obvious references, they delved into the city’s history, looking to an iconic architectural landmark for inspiration: the Liverpool Overhead Railway (LOR). Known locally as the “Dockers Umbrella”, the now decommissioned LOR has seen a host of world firsts, mirroring the creation of Tessuti’s flagship.
The archetypal arched profile of the historic structure became the basis of the store’s architectural language and is replicated around the space as a pattern. At the storefront, three impressive digital arches are used to connect the two-storey façade, confidently occupying the generous expanse of glazing.
Around the central void of the escalator, a large stainless steel “diamond” is punctuated by arches mimicking the engineering ladder that the LOR represents. The diamond serves as a striking signature for the store while visually drawing consumers’ eyes to the jewel in the store’s crown, the XL-format digital screen in the soffit above a central atrium. Elsewhere, the pattern serves as orientation, signifying key destinations such as dressing rooms or to highlight brands.
The 22,000 square foot store is laid out on three levels, two of which are dedicated to trading. The ground floor is dedicated to branded clothing such as Stone Island, Fiorucci, Billionaire Boys Club, Versace, APC, Norse Projects and CP Company. Here, six large number columns are arranged around the central void of the escalator. These “heat zones” merge product display and content to provide canvases for brand activations, while drawing the eye of consumers through the store, punctuating the space.
A curved stainless steel crate sits at the rear of the ground floor space highlighted by a sharp line of neon lights to clearly delineate the service area. The opposite is a large heat zone, a flexible “staging” to use for pop-ups and local activations.
The men’s and women’s dressing rooms are located in the rear corners of the floor and maintain the feel of an upscale space, with dedicated VIP rooms for high-profile clients.
The upper floor is accessible via twin escalators crossing the central atrium. Here, clearly defined destinations for shoes and accessories divide the space. As with the ground floor, several “heat zones” allow brand spaces to tell unique stories.
This level also houses a third-party Sneakers ER space, where customers can bring in their luxury shoes and bags for rejuvenation and repair, adding to the high quality of the in-store experience. A gloss black Piaggio APE van, an Italian design classic, serves as a mobile apothecary and perfume station, adding a change of pace to the customer journey. A large cash register, a “Click and collect” terminal and VIP cloakrooms perpetuate the theme of refined service.
Materials such as terrazzo, brass and marble are used in both levels, these classic Italian materials, signifiers of timeless style, are juxtaposed with contemporary interventions, digital moments, brushed stainless steel surfaces and accents of neon. Texture and pattern come from rough stucco surfaces to offset the clean lines of fixtures and furniture suggesting a unique, modern and ambitious space.