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Coming Soon ... Arnhem's Design Mecca

Part shop, part platform for the discussion and dissemination of ideas.  Coming Soon is a space  stocked with an ever-evolving range of fashion, ceramics, products and books that reveal the process, ideas and realization of Holland's cutting-edge world of design.

By Gabrielle Kennedy / 11-12-2008

A design Mecca in an unexpected location

Arnhem is best known as the home of ArtEZ, the fashion and art academy that trained Viktor & Rolf.  It’s not that surprising then that Coming Soon is located there. The shop, which started as a temporary experiment during the Fashion Biennale but evolved into a permanent project just over one year ago, is a sort of Dutch Colette.  It exists thanks to the creative direction and ongoing support of Judith ter Haar and was set up as a foundation with assistance from the city, the academy and local philanthropists.

“The art academy is a bit out of the city and it was important to have something in the center to make design more visible,” says store manager JP Scheen.  “And it is going very well, but a store like this takes time to get to that break-even mark.”

But although breaking-even matters, Coming Soon exists as much as a platform for Dutch design as a shop. It’s there as an incubator for ideas, as a space to host clinics and seminars, and as a creative environment that welcomes students to browse, touch and experience the best of Dutch design - functions that can’t only be measured in terms of the bottom line.

Visitors come from all over Holland in search of rarely stocked items.  Students come to see and feel even when they know they can't afford the merchandise.

“Students can't afford a Lanvin jacket,” Scheen says, “but it is important that they get to look at items like that, and to see how they are constructed.”  

Lanvin’s men’s wear line, designed by Dutch designer and ArtEZ graduate Lucas Ossendrijver, hangs alongside selected items from Viktor & Rolf’s latest collections.  But it is young designers like Rotterdam men’s wear designer Jeroen van Tuyl and Amsterdam women’s wear stand-out Marcha Huskes who most benefit from Coming Soon’s support.

Scheen stresses that the store likes to work closely with young Dutch labels helping them to better understand the retail environment.  He points to luggage label Vlieger & Van Dam as a company that has benefited from the shop’s support.  “MOMA bought one of their bags and the brand is growing really nicely,” he says.  

Coming Soon stocks ceramics and product design, but also magazines like Fantastic Man and Purple to keep the space accessible and inviting.  Staff is young and knowledgeable.  “I don’t mind spending time with a customer and answering questions even when they have no intention of actually buying something,” Scheen says.  “It’s really important that we remain as much about passing on information as actually selling design.”

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