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Behind The Scenes: Interview with Robert Thiemann

For what reason does a design magazine open a pop-up-store? Robert Thiemann, editor-in-chief at Frame magazine spoke in an interview wit LIGANOVA about his current project in detail about the idea of opening The Frame Pop-Up-Store.

Behind The Scenes: Interview with Robert Thiemann

Educated as a chemical engineer, Robert Thiemann worked as a copywriter and later journalist. In 1997 he co-founded Frame, a magazine of interior design. He co-founded Mark, an architectural magazine, in 2005 and headed it until 2011. With Frame, Thiemann aims to capture the most remarkable built environments to inspire a creative audience. Still at the magazine’s helm, he is passionate about the editorial process – conception, indepth content, graphic design, materialization – and continues to explore new directions. Thiemann is the managing director of Frame Publishers, an Amsterdam-based company that also publishes Elephant magazine as well as books on art, architecture and  design. He talks with us about the first Frame pop-up store in Amsterdam and how helpful such a creative platform can be in the communication with readers. 

 

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For what reason did you decide to open your own store?

Since the crisis, advertisers have been looking for new ways of communicating with their target groups. Offering merchandise in a store with unquestioned credibility can complement the traditional magazine ad. Even more than a store, this is a creative platform that helps us to communicate with our readers. Not just about design and books, but also about food, fashion,  beauty – even contemporary art. We’ll be organizing events here, including a graphic-design festival, talks by designers, product presentations and art exhibitions. The shop is a 3D version of Frame.

 

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How did you come to the Felix Meritis building in Amsterdam?

The Frame store is part of Felix & Foam, a temporary cultural platform initiated by Amsterdam City Council and Foam Photography Museum in the heart of the city’s canal district. We have been asked by Foam to participate in the project with a design and fashion store. In addition to our store, the monumental Felix Meritis building offers a home to Foyer restaurant and exhibitions and events curated by Foam. These range from yoga classes to concerts to astronomy on the roof, while Foyer is run the same group of young entrepreneurs behind the city’s previous pop-up culinary sensation Repéré. Felix &Foam is open until 30 September.

 

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Your shop is reminiscent of a hall of mirrors. What is the idea behind it?

A very deciding factor in the choice of mirrors for the interior design was the location. The Frame Store is housed partly in the Zuilenzaal (Hall of Columns), one storey of the 18th-century Felix Meritis building. Five 4-m-tall arched windows provide a view of canal houses across the water. Other walls feature authentic built-in cabinets and a stone fireplace. Creaky wooden floors complete the picture. With the mirrors, i29 interior architects created a literal reflection of time and history. They reinforced the contrast between old and new by juxtaposing two-dimensional geometric mirrors with the timeworn walls and chipped columns. Apart from that shopping also is a social activity. It’s about looking and being looked at. That’s why the interior turns looking into a hallucinatory experience.

 

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What is there to discover, what kind of products?

We sell fashion, homeware, beauty products, art, books, magazines and even some food. The merchandise has to be of impeccable quality, but above all accessible. No limited editions or over-the-top luxury. And not all sorts of gadgets and jokes, like the ones that make a big splash on the internet today and are gone tomorrow. We opted for contemporary essentials, products from yesterday and today that will still be alive tomorrow. So Artek lamps by Alvar Aalto and basic menswear from Swedish label  Stutterheim next to vases by up-and-coming talent Lex Pott and soaps from Dr. Bronner. All products are hand-picked by the editorial staff. A strict selection process is inevitable.

 

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Are there any plans for a permanent store – or several?

We already had plans for a permanent store and had a rental contract for a space in Amsterdam in our pocket. But a lack of experience has kept us from signing the contract. We simply didn’t know what it would mean to open a store. We consider the current pop-up as a way to get this experience. It’s a pilot project. We are looking forward to evaluating the pop-up. Based on the outcome we will open a permanent store – or maybe even more.

08 / 08 / 2014 // by LigaStudios Team

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