9 inspiring mixed-use projects (2/3)

30. August 2022

City centres have to adapt to stay attractive. Mixed-use properties as well as convertible retail concepts are two possible solutions. We’re presenting inspiring projects in a three-part series. 

Mixed-use properties that have two or more functions are on the rise. And they can pay off on different levels: on the one hand, they can create attractive neighbourhoods that combine working, living and shopping with mobility and even green spaces. On the other, they use space more efficiently because they can be operated for more hours total every day.

In line with the demands of our time, there are projects with a hybrid approach all around the world today. We took a look at different projects and found many inspiring things. So many, in fact, that we wrote three blog entries on the topic. The first entry was published in June, and this one is the second in the series.


Slowear18: Clothing store, coffee and cocktail bar, Milan, Italy

The concept store, named Slowear18 after its location on 18 Solferino street in Milan, leads a double life: it stays open when other retailers switch off their lights. During the day, the shop sells luxury men’s and women’s fashion and coffee; at night, Slowear18 transforms into a hip mixology and Franciacorta bar – an innovative approach to the retail experience.

The Italian studio Visual Display designed an exciting and changeable interior for the mixed-use space that elegantly brings all the different uses under one roof. The star of the interior is the iconic and height-adjustable «theatre machine». It shines a spotlight on the featured products as a sort of modern-day chandelier or, when lowered, serves as a display case and bar. Either way, the element is a real eye-catcher day and night.

Slowear Venezia, the parent brand of Slowear18, defines the combination of retail and hospitality as a retail experience: product innovation, clothing and customer service fuse together into a unique experience.


The «Kaufhaus Breuer» residential and commercial building, Eschweiler, Germany

The former «Kaufhaus Breuer» is an award-winning example of an inner-city revitalisation project that takes the future demographic development into account. The BeL Sozietät für Architektur architecture office developed a new use concept for the building with commercial, residential and office spaces without interfering in the openness of the architecture. 

The characteristic exterior was largely maintained, but now has new accents. Due to its attractive location, the ground floor is still going to be used for retail; on the first floor, which is completely glassed in, office spaces were created in an open floor plan. The second and third floors comprise eight disabled-accessible flats for older people, which can be used individually or as a housing co-operative. The nearly 100-square-metre rooftop terrace with a view of the city centre is open to all neighbours and can be accessed by stairs or lift.


Look Mum No Hands!: Restaurant, café, bar and bike workshop, London, UK

Admittedly, the low-rise building made of red bricks with big windows at 49 Old Street in London is in itself nothing special, but its name and interior make up for that: inside Look Mum No Hands!, guests can grab a bite to eat while they’re getting their bikes repaired. The workshop is open from Monday to Friday until 6pm and the café is open daily, and on certain days until 10pm.

For more than a decade, this unconventional combination has been attracting bike fans and non-bike fans from all over the world. A packed programme of events like Tour de France watch parties, art and photo exhibitions, film premieres, book presentations and numerous workshops have made the London shop even more popular and caters to the city clientele’s wide range of needs. It’s a tried-and-true concept: the mix of restaurant, café, bar, workshop and event location has long been the inspiration to imitators in a number of metropolises.


(Header image article and image blog overview: Slowear18 Milano © Alessandro Saletta for DSL Studio – photography)

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