So let’s start out on how you guys all met?
Alain- So this guy is my brother. So met him when I was born, we clicked right away (laughs). Dong and I met through a few mutual friends for this job. This is Fool's Gold’s second store— when we decided to relocate, and expand we wanted to find a new team to work with, concept-wise.
What was your specific goal in having a new space? What did you want to change?
Alain- In general, we just outgrew the style of the old store, [which] was designed like a French bistro— with the mirror that had all the prices on it in old calligraphy, and an actual bar that served as record bins. Dong Ping-Wong- It was rad, I mean, these guys built it.
David– Very 2009, but I mean, it was cool for a record shop. Subverted... But we felt like the label was turning 10 this year so we needed to give everything a new feel… We first got with Family, and then I suggested Principals because I was already a fan of their work, and I felt like it was important to mobilize a lot of New York talent.
Is everything that’s apart of it New York based?
Alain– When that angle of it became apparent, we liked that and worked with only New York based agencies throughout the job.
This seems like more of a space built for a multifaceted business, rather than just a record shop. I guess that allows you guys to have a lot of growth in terms of merchandising?
Alain– We defiantly wanted it to look different, especially with how everyone is doing the white box design or exposed wood and plants thing too.
Dave– No plants. Plants are kind of like the new taxidermy. Like you know how everything in 2008 had taxidermy, and then you had the plants everywhere paradigm.
Dong- Dave has been on this argument since day one.
Alain- But it was kind of like how do we come up with a concept for a store, having that Instagram factor, that looks unique but still is rooted in signifiers of a record shop. We’re doing retail here but FG was a record label at first, being a label is the core of our identity.
Dave- It’s almost like at you know how in molecular gastronomy, they’ll take a dish like meatloaf and they’ll deconstruct it. You have all the meatloaf signifiers, but your experience of eating meatloaf is different. Here we pulled the record shop thing apart, and you’ll have like record crates here and old hip hop magazines here... But when you come in it doesn’t smell, look, or feel like any record shop. But it’s all there.
Dong- Unlike a lot of people we work with, these guys have very clear ideas on a conceptual level of what they want it to be. I mean meatloaf analogies have obviously never come up, but even more so they came to us from day one and knew what they wanted. There are so many facets to FG it’s about defining and grouping them into one homogenous space where you can focus on each individual moment.
Alain- That’s where this optical illusion of the enfilade concept came in. And it actually feels like you’re in a record crate. Not sure that was the intention.
Dong- Wait. It actually does, which was actually not intentional… We presented a handful of things and all of them broke down FG into pieces but this was the only one that worked with the space. But also it was the only one that you walked by and got that immediate impact.
Alain- From day one we wanted to make this inline with shops like Prada, Saint Laurent, Celine and Acne but not at hyper luxury budget, which we had more difficulty with in terms of materials.
Yeah that front desk reminds me of Acne! Its those blue speckles!
Dave- Thank you! Yeah! The speckles! I’m so happy you brought that up! A lot of those materials feel extremely elevated. The Family guys really worked their magic because in the original mockups we had marble and terrazzo very luxe materials but the budget was limited especially towards the end.
Dong- It was a rad challenge. What we ended up with was actually inexpensive industrial materials. It’s this rough industrial meets luxury, and that came be realized as the identity of the store.
The Principals- This was fun for us, it was an interesting project because they had this unrealistic palate and budget for this and were open and willing to experiment, which is what we do. It’s rare to find that one project where we can just throw it all out and see what will happen.
Dave- I mean, can we say what that “Acne” material is? It’s the same thing the subway floors are made of. Gym mat material.
The Principles- It was fun because we took rough materials that took such different explorations into minutia to create this fine result out of something so rough.
Dong- Yeah, when they first sent mock-ups there were crazy things like marble, jade, things that take plate tectonics and millions of dollars to use. That was where it got so fun and experimental.
Dave- They made luxury Margiela out of plastic. I feel like since this project didn’t have such a big budget and wasnt for a huge company that’s what made it kind of unique
The Principals- Yeah, as soon as there’s a huge budget you don’t have to come up with some wild solution to do something out of budget but keep it in budget.
Alain- Part of what I love about just running FG is that I end up doing things I never thought I would do in my life. And like, just figuring it all out as we go along. Dave and I look at all of our projects with this balance— on one hand, a very practical pragmatic approach, but thinking also conceptually... These speak the same language. And then you create this space that has glamour without being pretentious, instead, is welcoming.
Dave- It’s sort of that beastie boy formula like you pay homage to culture, you make fun of yourself and also you deliver quality product.