(May 22, 2012) Like The Little House, the classic 1942 children's book by Virginia Lee Burton, the 1970s single-story building at 110 Prince Street has been saved from potential demolition, and revived by Japanese architect Shigeru Ban, who transformed it into a "House of Shoes" for the Spanish footwear manufacturer Camper.

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Photograph © Billy Farrell Agency

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photograph © Marian Montoro

Ban, along with company general manager and fourth generation principal, Miquel Fluxá, revealed the project at a formal opening on a warm, spring evening after ICFF. THe new shop is located beneath the tromp l'oeil mural artist Richard Haas painted on an adjacent cast-iron building. It sports a whimsical pitched roof-like structure made with the signature paper tubes Ban uses on both artistic installations and temporary emergency housing. Sliding glass doors integrate street activity with the interior, where the architect continues his playful theme with a wink and a nod toward brand image: A super-sized, white logo spans a crimson sidewall, concealing slotted shelves of shoes from passersby; Angled red ceiling slats greet shoppers as they enter, only to reflect their natural undersides in a rear mirror; and Artek's recycled composite 10-Unit chair system, designed by Ban, provides flexible seating. Finally, a faux-grass-covered sales counter recalls the company's rural roots: its name Camper, means farmer in the dialect of Majorca, where Fluxá's father established the first factory in 1975; and its first product was a recycled shoe for farmers.

Surprise, says Ban is an element he likes to infuse into his projects. Named for its domestic-style gable roof, Camper's "House of Shoes" is a wonderful addition to a very serious consumer-driven street. It's sure to make at least some shoppers smile. It might even lure them inside to see what's hidden behind the wall.

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photograph © Marian Montoro

Surprisingly spacious for its 1200-square-foot selling floor, Camper's new outpost also makes for a terrific party, as the following photos illustrate.

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Photograph © Billy Farrell Agency

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Photograph © Billy Farrell Agency

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Photograph © Billy Farrell Agency



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Shigeru Ban and Miquel Fluxá at the shop "untying"
Photograph © Billy Farrell Agency


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Shigeru Ban
Photograph © Billy Farrell Agency


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Photograph © Billy Farrell Agency


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Photograph © Billy Farrell Agency

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Photograph © Billy Farrell Agency


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Photograph © Billy Farrell Agency