Stores that sell a service rather than a good inevitably face a problem when it comes to interior design. Leasing offices and cell-phone carriers, with their pretend-helpful signage and giant carpeted voids devoted to standing in line, have certainly not found a solution. But in the Basque city of San Sebastián, the architects at VAUMM turned the theme of online shopping into a playful interior motif. Shoppers who have ordered from the website Deskontalia—which, as far is we can tell, is like a Spanish version of Hammacher Schlemmer crossed with a daily deals site—can pick up their goods in a thematically appropriate cardboard jungle.
To counterbalance the flatness of the brown boxes, VAUMM gave them a textured backdrop of white masonry walls, casting pillars, and resin-coated floors. Though we're not too interested in Deskontalia's line of products (which include things like microwavable slippers and a hilariously Photoshopped set of ceramic pots), the new pickup location sets a great precedent for a type of retail space that barely exists yet.
So far pickup arrangements have been a marriage of convenience, a quick-and-dirty way to get deliveries in the hands of customers who haven't the time to wait for the UPS guy. Take Amazon's colonization of 7-Eleven through bus-station-style package lockers jammed up by the bathrooms. In the race for viable same-day pickup, that kind of partnership makes a lot of sense. It's probably quixotic to hope for well-designed package emporiums from the very companies that chose a virtual existence over a physical one. But until the era of 3D printing truly gets under way and the postal service self-immolates, maybe we can entertain ourselves with a new kind of retail space.
All photos © Aitor Ortiz