First or Second
Being avid fans of April and May blog, we were delighted to speak with the authors this interior design blog, Jantine Vaartjes and Vivian Hoebe, on their newest endeavour. Just last year, they opened a physical concept store, First or Second, in The Netherlands featuring beautiful furniture and even a cafe. It was clearly visible that the concept of the store was closely related to their online blog and greatly fitted the April and May feeling. We jumped in and got some insights into their inspirations behind the stunning store in our latest issue of the Bloesem Gazette.
Why a store? and why now?
In the beginning of 2014 we were asked if we were interested in working on a new store concept for an existing store in the city, Alkmaar. The owner of the store wanted a new and different concept and a completely different atmosphere. We decided to create a new concept for the store and added a new collection of brands and products to the existing collection. Not only did the interior change, but also the name and branding changed into First or Second (design choices). The project was a challenge because of the size of the store with approximately 2000 square meters and the time issue where we had to finish the concept, restyling and new collection within 4 months. But we managed and the result is a completely new store that breathes a totally different atmosphere and experience.
What is your inspiration behind 1 or 2 Store? How does the blog translate into the store?
We wanted to create more than just a store, somewhere you can experience products and brands in a different way. A place where first experiences lead to second moments. A combination of design, vintage design and products (first or second). We divided the store into different areas with a 1or2 cafe, 1or2 villa, 1or2 art and 1or2 kids spread over almost 3 levels. With the 1or2 villa you can experience products in a real villa and be inspired to use them in your own home. We have a kitchen in the villa that is used for cooking sessions and workshops. Just like with our blog, we wanted people to get inspired in a different way compared to how stores usually present their collections.
Can you tell us about your favourite product in the store?
Jantine: I personally like everything in the gallery (1or2 art) where you can find great graphic prints, posters, cards and stationery. One of my favourites are the prints by Studio Esinam.
Vivian: All the products from the MENU section in the store. Beautiful products that fit perfectly in the entire space located next to the 1or2 cafe, designed by Norm Architects.
1 or 2 is so much more than a store, it even has a beautiful cafe. What are your favourite aspects of the entire business?
For the cafe, we worked together with Norm Architects. We visited them in March 2014 and told them about the concept we were working on with plans for a cafe where we wanted to use and present the products from the brand MENU. They were excited about this idea and created the design for this cafe. In the cafe, you can experience all of the products from MENU, you can even enjoy a nice cup of coffee or tea and buy your favourite products.
What’s in store for April and May in 2015?
We have been working very hard on this new store concept in 2014 and have finished this project with a great result and we are really proud of the result. For 2015, we will be working on a new look and feel for April and May with a new branding and logo, new blog style and a changed look and feel for our online store byAprilandMay.
Images courtesy of April and May.