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VUORI, New York City | 52nd International Design Competition Winner

 (Photography by Leandro Justen, New York, New York)

VUORI, New York

Category: Specialty Softlines

Submitted by: Heitler Houstoun Architects, PC

Photography: Leandro Justen, New York, New York

🏆 This project received an Innovation Award for Lighting.

Vuori’s first East Coast flagship store is located at 106 Spring Street, in NYC’s Soho neighborhood. The brand’s clean, California coastal aesthetic was thoughtfully juxtaposed against the historic vernacular of the Cast Iron District. The 5,000 sf space tells the story of the brand in key architectural moments along the customer journey.

 (Photography by Leandro Justen, New York, New York)

The sales floor is bright and airy with a restrained material palette that compliments the brand’s earthy colorways. A practical need to isolate sound from the residential units above was taken as an opportunity to create a ceiling feature that feels as though a large portion of the sales floor is open to the sky. A custom stretched fabric with LED backlighting is wrapped in natural oak edge-banding to create a central focus for the space when floor fixtures are moved and the space is activated by yoga class. The Vuori flagship was imagined not just as a shopping hub, but also as a community hub to celebrate and inspire a ‘healthy, happy life.’

The ceiling also provides an opportunity to intentionally juxtapose the clean design language of the brand and the historic fabric of the site. The original cast iron columns, which are featured in the main space, meet the newly constructed ceiling at recessed pockets that allow the ornate details of the column capitals to be seen from below - a solution that both preserves access to the historical texture and meets the acoustic isolation requirements of the residential space above.

At the far end of the sales floor, overlooking Mercer Street is an arched seating cove that presents the brand message. An opportunity is provided to sit and reflect on the brand message with all of the natural materials in the palette. A custom bench in white oak and terrazzo mirrors the design of the display platforms on the sales floor, while hand-troweled mineral lime plaster creates a soft backdrop for the pin-mounted message. Following this introduction to the brand, a 40-foot-long hall leads the customer to the fit lounge. The hall is designed as a transitional experience from a store that is very location-specific and activated by the street to the fit lounge which is very protected and quiet. A series of edge-lit arches transport the customer into a place where you are reminded to Run. Surf. Hike. Train and Chill. Two custom millwork pieces anchor the center and the end of the hall with backlit brand messages milled through plaster. The fit lounge receives customers with a large, layered, custom millwork and lighting installation that recalls the very definition of Vuori - a Finnish word meaning “mountain”. A curved seating area and central pendant create an intimate gathering space just outside the private fit rooms.

The space is a series of apparent contradictions, at once very active and meditative. It is elevated and accessible. It is meant to be aspirational in the most achievable way, fully aligned with the ethos of the brand.

Architect: Heitler Houstoun Architects

General Contractor: PM Construction Services

Outside Design Consultants: EP Engineering, LLC, RL Studio, and Vuori

Suppliers: Rich LTD., Youngbuk Art Services, and Luxcanvas by Ledconn


In addition to VUORI, the Retail Design Institute would like to congratulate the Class of 2022, representing the best of the best in retail stores and experiences completed between January 1st and December 31st, 2022:

American Outpost


LOVE and Bergmeyer

2022 Store of the Year

Innovation Awards: Branding & Technology and Digital Integration

Sage & Sound

New York


El Palacio de Hierro Coyoacán


TPG Architecture

High Street Place



Miller & Lux

New York

MBH Architects

Innovation Award: Finishes & Materiality


San Marcos

Arcadis Inc.

Innovation Award: Wayfinding & Environmental Graphics

Bentonville Nature Near Pavilion

Virtual, Bentonville

NELSON Worldwide

Innovation Awards: Unbuilt Conceptual Design

Victoria's Secret Bombshell Gardens

New York

MG2/Lionesque Group

Central Park

North York

II BY IV Design



Dalziel & Pow Design Consultants

Innovation Award: Fixturing

Clyde & Grain



Innovation Award: Wayfinding & Environmental Graphics

Greenwich St. Jewelers

New York

MAOarch Architecture D.P.C.

Innovation Award: Customer Journey

Johnny Cupcakes



Innovation Awards: Visual Merchandising and Conceptual Design


New York

Heitler Houstoun Architects, PC

Innovation Award: Lighting


New York




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