Nothing like a magic trick to attract the crowds. Visitors to leather goods store Valextra had an unexpected surprise with "Magnetism," on view in Milan during the annual Salone Internazionale del Mobile last week. The in-store installation featured the brand's classic wallets, bags, and small leather goods attached to walls, as if precariously glued there.
To create the effect, London-based Italian designer Martino Gamper swapped the store's usual furniture and displays cases for a system of floor-to-ceiling metal panels upholstered in two shades of grey fabric. The color grey is a nod to the street, connecting the two visually, Gamper notes, while the tofu-colored natural Italian stone flooring, selected for its "beautiful dry finish," is laid in a herringbone pattern. "Milan is a city of different pavings, from small cobblestones to the larger paving of Via Manzoni outside the store," he says.
Visitors could could pull products, each fitted out with a super strong hidden magnet clad in leather, away from the walls, and then reattached them at will.
"The bags are the star, that’s what we want people to look at," Gamper explains. "You don’t need shelves, you just need a way to show the bags and you can see so much more of the bag when they're suspended on the wall."
The flexible system, which gives products the illusion of floating, also entices experimentation and touching with its originality—which can't hurt sales.