The client’s needs were to build their largest flagship store to introduce their brand and house their offices. Seeking to complete the project ahead of Shanghai’s World Expo 2010— a mere 3 months away—the client chose to adapt an existing five-story building. The prominent site, located at the edge of Shanghai’s main shopping district, welcomes patrons from three directions; the nose of the building on axis with West Nanjing Road, the broad street face, and a subway stop that slices through the building. The branding of the store required visibility of location with windowless space to display product however the government prevented exterior lighting or removal of the existing facade glass.
A skin of perforated metal on the upper floors was used to transform and unify the building. A wall of product was constructed and set inboard of the existing glass by several feet to allow access for maintenance while creating a light-box within to backlight the perforated skin. Viewed from a distance, the patterning in the illuminated skin creates an appearance of folded fabric, a subtle reference to the building’s use.
Drawing upon a shoppers’ innate sense of discovery, potent locations in the building are marked by color, light and movement, encouraging visitors to explore. A mechanically rotating series of mannequins inhabit the circular entry. Robotic lighting tracks movement and engages patrons in a dramatic experience. A glass “shard” brings light to the center of the deep floor-plates, and showcases mannequins flying vertically on theatrical rigging, animating the space.