Part playroom, part retail space,
this tiny store packs a punch
HABBI HABBI | Palo Alto, CA, US
completed October 2018 | size 475 sf
photos Takashi Fukuda/Takashi Fukuda Photography
Contributing Shop! member: Bergmeyer Associates architecture
How does one design a 475-sq.-ft. retail space for children that doubles as a playroom and community hub in just six weeks? That was the challenge for the design team of Habbi Habbi, an online retailer of highly curated children’s products, for its first brick-and-mortar location.
The design maximizes use of a compact space to serve as an experiential playroom, community hub, and retail showroom. It also embodies the brand’s values and entrepreneurial vision of its owners. The design team was responsible for implementing the design, building market visibility of the brand, and specifying furniture, fixtures, and equipment.
Inspired by Habbi Habbi’s playful logo, bursts of color throughout the space punctuate the bright white, minimalist background. Triangular chalk walls allow visitors to add their own splash of color, and Instagramable moments are dispersed throughout. A custom feature wall in the store’s center is covered in 1,000 paper cranes—an homage to the ancient Japanese legend that 1,000 cranes will bring good luck.
A creative approach to planning maximizes space and circulation, enabling several activities to happen simultaneously. For example, a variety of flexible, soft seating provides a comfortable respite for customers, whether for play, shopping, or a community event. In place of a traditional cashwrap counter, a long wooden worktable sits front and center, serving as a utilitarian divider between play space and merchandise.
Cost-effective design solutions include chalk walls and custom wall graphics designed in collaboration with an artist. They help illustrate the brand and add visual interest while staying within the limited budget. Graphic posters grace the walls, each representing one of the brand’s nine values:
1 Understand fundamentals
2 Communicate ideas
3 Express creativity
4 Be self-reliant
5 Be gritty
6 Feel worthy
7 Show empathy
8 Engage global community
9 Exercise self-care
The result is an engaging, multiuse space that is the perfect blend of retail, community hub, and playroom that reinforces the brand and products, and gain new customers.