A translucent purple geodesic dome sits outside the Gare de Lyon in Paris, cutting a contemporary dash when set against the late 19th century architecture.
Welcome to the showcase for the Nike Flyknit Lunar 1+ - a lightweight running shoe that looks as if it is the outcome of a high-tech macrame class, instead of the more usual sense of a product that has sprung from an engineering laboratory.
Nike has been fairly fleet of foot lately when it comes to creating environments, permanent and temporary, that capture both shopper attention and column inches and this pop-up space is no exception. Once the initial surprise at the shape of the store has subsided, a step across the threshold reignites the curiosity.
In the middle of the space, a velour covered drum bears the message “The perfect fit for the perfect run”.
A cat’s cradle of brightly coloured strings rises from the drum and suspended within this matrix are the shoes. At the back of the dome there’s a screen showing the progress around Paris of runners wearing digitally-enabled Nike shoes (this has also been done at the Nike store in Boxpark Shoreditch, London) and the perimeter is filled with translucent display cases bearing yet more trainers.
Overhead, a theatre-style gantry provides light for the interior and the near-inevitable digital tablets are close at hand for those in need of a touch-screen fix.
In total, this is a surprisingly immersive experience and quite unlike anything else that Nike has done elsewhere across Europe. And like all the best new retail concepts, it draws shoppers to it by being an exception to the general rule on how to do things.