Annie Block | October 01, 2010
Adaptive reuse is everywhere, even under the train tracks. At Zurich's Im Viadukt, dozens of shops and restaurants occupy vaults beneath a 19th-century railway viaduct that's still operational. The latest arrival, luxury accessories boutique Komplementair, was designed by Aekae to capitalize on the landmarked stone arches. However, since building anything that touches them is strictly verboten, Aekae devised an internal steel-beam system to support the 1,400-square-foot, two-level interior independently.
Echoing the historic nature of the surroundings, vintage wooden furniture of all shapes and sizes serves as a well-worn counterpoint to swank shoes and bags for men and women. The ground-level's gleaming white concrete flooring keeps the effect from veering into flea-market muddle. Overhead, adjustable brass rods support a constellation of conical black lamp shades, plus the occasional clothes hanger. The lacquered cash-wrap counter is likewise black, and an industrial-style steel staircase leads to the skylit second level. In other words, all is in keeping with Aekae's official credo: Respect for the past but passion for the future.