Hubert Burda Media

A Ball of a Time

Swiss leather manufacturer BALLY has designed its new London flagship boutique after one of its stores from nearly a century ago. 

Sleek aluminium shelves, stylish wooden panels arranged in a grid pattern and stock walls to help customers find their desired shoes quickly — Swiss leather manufacturer Bally’s new London flagship boutique, its first in over 20 years, oozes modern sophistication.
So it may come as a surprise that David Chipperfield Architects, which designed the store at New Bond Street, drew inspiration from an old Bally outlet in Switzerland back in the 1920s.
The stock walls, for instance, are a reinterpretation of how shoeboxes were simply stacked into built-in pigeonholes — a design more practical than it is aesthetically pleasing. The British architect, who runs his eponymous firm, has since transformed the stock walls into a key feature element, giving them sleek walnut frames to better complement the brand’s burgundy shoeboxes and thereby also accentuating the boutique’s fashionable interior.
Even the metal fixtures are specially commissioned, of which apart from serving as decorations, help support the frames of display cases and connect lighting fixtures. Crafted in tubular shapes from brass and aluminium, they are a nod to the late Hungarian architect Marcel Breuer’s bicycle handlebar-inspired furniture; an apt reference for Breuer was the designer of the very 1920s store that the new boutique pays homage to.
Vintage elements notwithstanding, the new Bally store keeps in time with contemporary consumer demands: Its first floor caters to those seeking bespoke shoes, with a made-to-order service that allows customers to personalise the colour and material of selected shoe models, and a custom colouring service that lets would-be wearers pick any imaginable hue for their desired pair. There are also repair and polishing amenities available.
The two other floors at the 4,320-sq-ft boutique are dedicated to menswear and womenswear. And here’s one of its features that will please some shoppers: A Gentlemen’s Corner lounge area where customers (especially those who have to wait for their partners to finish making purchases) can sit down and relax in plush armchairs.
With its elegant, vintage interiors that house a smorgasbord of contemporary offerings, the new Bally flagship store showcases how the old and new can co-exist in the same space — and does so in style.
Bally, 45-46 New Bond Street, London