The store, located in Shoreditch, replaces the brand’s previous, more industrial store on nearby Broadway Market and was intended to have a frivolous feel.
The interior has “a sense of otherworldliness, escapism and fun,” Waiata Sheehan explains, comparing it to “a mixture between a mushroom trip and going to visit someone’s rich aunty who runs a gallery”.
“We’ve always had very neutral industrial spaces,” she told Dezeen. |But you can get an industrial Zara these days, so time to switch it up and go full personality, which has been scary but so worth it.”
Located inside a five-storey former Victorian warehouse, Aro Archive, which sells pre-owned clothing by avant-garde designers, was organised so that each floor has a different colour.
Monochrome pastel pink, blue and white hues decorate the different levels, which also feature a wide range of reclaimed and recycled materials, furniture and artworks.
“The pink floor is supposed to feel very warm, womb-like and enclosed,” Waiata Sheehan said. “The blue floor is more light and otherworldly. And the two white floors are very ethereal and calm.”
White duvet covers by fashion house Maison Martin Margiela were used to create curtains for the changing rooms, while interior pillars are made from reclaimed 1990s metal lamp posts that the designer sourced from a scrapyard in Preston.
“The building and surrounding area feel very London, so we did want to bring in a sense of that for example with the lamp posts, metal works and details, bright neon lights and so forth,” Waiata Sheehan said.
She sourced a number of unusual furnishings for the Aro Archive store, including an industrial control station from a paper-manufacturing plant that is now used as a till.
“The industrial paper control station I’ve been watching on eBay for nearly 4 years, waiting for a time I had the space to buy it,” Waiata Sheehan explained. “I wanted something different to the normal till, they’re all so boring and square.”
The store also has another large metal till and metal drawers that originally came from a 1980s Mary Quant store and were rescued from a squat in Hackney Wick.
Waiata Sheehan also sourced several smaller pieces for the boutique, where customers can purchase everything down to the artwork, furniture and accessories.
“I do all the buying so everything is here because I love it in some way,” she explained. “But in terms of favourite pieces in store right now?”
“For fashion, it’s the Rick Owens orange shearling gimp mask gilet, for objects the Shirin Guild ceramic incense holders and for furniture the wobbly glass table with magazine racks.”
Waiata Sheehan hopes the Aro Archive boutique will feel like a home away from home and help to create a community feel in the area.
“I think Shoreditch is lacking a sense of community and I wanted to work that into the space,” she said. “The feeling of a chaotic family home and a feeling of togetherness.”
Other London stores with notable interior design recently covered on Dezeen include Swedish fashion brand Toteme’s newly-opened Mayfair store and a Coach pop-up store at Selfridges that had fixtures made from recyclable materials.
The photography is by John Munro.