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© Dirk Weiblen


Location: Shanghai, China Floor area: 500 sqm Date of completion: Aug. 2019 Client: Réel Shanghai Interior Design: Kokaistudios Chief Designers: Filippo Gabbiani, Andrea Destefanis Project Managers: Ian Yu, Yao Yao Design Team: Jen Xu, Chang Qing Photography: Dirk Weiblen Text: Frances Arnold


 Rhythm, Geometry, and Space: Réel Contemporary Fashion, Shanghai
In a second project for Réel in Shanghai, a high-end shopping mall located on West Nanjing Road, Kokaistudios was commissioned to renovate and upgrade its third floor contemporary womenswear department. On identifying visibility and layout as particular challenges of the 500sqm space, designers injected layers and partitions into the formerly messy shop floor to create rhythm and pace, and invite discovery. Combining a solid core, mineral-inspired PVC, as well as brushed stainless steel finishes, all realized in neutral tones to best showcase the products themselves, the result fits seamlessly within the mall’s wider context, creating continuity and refinement.

Visibility was a key challenge: with sole access to the floor via central escalators, visitors could see the entirety of the space immediately on arrival. With views through to the dead end beyond, as well as each and every tenant island in between, the original layout offered little in the way of intrigue, few incentives for discovery, and limited possibilities for circulation.

Kokaistudios’ solution was to insert gates at regular intervals throughout the space. Spanning the width of the shop floor, these ‘windows of curiosity’ serve several functions: firstly, their robust columns partially block shoppers’ view into the store, thereby piquing curiosity to further explore. Second, alternating gates’ finishes between dark stone cladding and light-colored PVC creates a depth of field, and an attractive order and rhythm.