In London, Covent Garden is the place to go for boutique shoe shops -- there are stores from the Natural Shoe Co., Poste Mistress and Birkenstock. For a long time the area has been home to a small Camper shop down an alleyway, tucked away from the main foot traffic of Neal Street.
Just before Christmas, Camper added to their presence in the area and opened a brand new store on a prominent corner, designed by Tomas Alonso. Alongside beautiful tables and benches constructed using Alonso's particular language of bright tubular structures and wooden planes, there are specially designed ceramic lightshades and (my favourite) a very interesting exercise in tiles and perspective.
The Covent Garden branch is just one in a series of five stores that the Spanish company asked Alonso to design, the next one, in Glasgow is due to open very soon.
Shai Akram met Andrew Haythornthwaite while studying at the Royal College of Art, the two now run their own design practice and are also members of the Okay Studio collective. Her projects cover creative direction and design for interiors, events, and furniture/product ranges. Shaiâ€™s work is a combination of practice and theory, translating research and ideology into objects and visual language. Her work has been exhibited internationally and projects have taken her to China, New Zealand and Italy- although Shai loves to travel, she secretly wishes she would stay in one place long enough to have a cat.