Les Benjamins has opened the doors to its first flagship boutique in Dubai. Located on the first floor of Mall of the Emirates and spanning 213sqft, the store also doubles as a lively creative hub with a statement table designed by Max Lamb. The flagship store is a result of the Istanbul-based label’s longstanding relationship with the UAE’s cultural community.
Designed by architect Dong-Ping Wong, founder of Food New York, and the Les Benjamins Istanbul flagship store, the space takes inspiration from the Turkish city. “Les Benjamins Dubai is about contrasts: old and new, open and intimate, gleaming and earthen,” says Wong. “To create intimate spaces within a totally open floor plan, we looked to the Basilica Cistern in Old Istanbul, the city where Les Benjamins is from.” The store also features traditional plaster techniques seen in the Dubai Old Souq to juxtapose the glossy elements of the mall. “It’s a material with history, depth, and texture, interspersed with reflective, graphic, and neon details,” the architect adds.
Due to Covid-19 restrictions, brand founder Bunyamin Aydin and Wong directed the space layout through Google Maps and Zoom. “I wanted to give a nod to our heritage, but in a contemporary setting, so we used concrete to connect with steel, giving it a balance between old and new,” says Aydin. “We’ve always had a warm welcome from the region, especially as we’re unified in our vision of spreading a progressive Eastern movement. I’m always interested in amplifying the voices of the youth in the Middle East,” Aydin. A highlight of the store decor includes a turntable placed at the center of the space. It is accompanied by and a sound set up by Devon Ojas, and Aydin’s personal selection of vinyls.
The launch is marked with a limited edition drop of 10 signature tracksuits, and a 100-piece limited run of collectible numbered tees exclusive to Dubai. Other items housed at the store include Les Benjamins’ collection of menswear, womenswear, accessories, multi-brand sneakers, home goods, slides, and swimwear.