Gallery GIF, a new addition to the eastern Russian city of Vladivostok, cannot be defined as a store or a gallery alone, but both. Seeking a space to help people familiarize themselves with young local brands or present their own projects, the client behind the space sought out the help of Moscow-based Miyao Design Studio to envision an 89-m2 multi-brand showroom. As the COVID-19 crisis has motivated people to engage moreso with local creators and makers, this hybrid typology could play an increasingly important role on the high street.

The collaboration entailed researching principles of retail stores and exhibition spaces to create an efficient interior. ‘Mobility was especially important in this project,’ say Sergei Piterskii and Katerina Borodina of Miyao. ‘The client wanted everything in the showroom to constantly change, renew and take different forms.’ The designers’ solution was to create modular metal exhibition stands – developed especially for each brand on show – set up around the space’s perimeter; each is a different colour meant to signify the identity of the brand attached to it. The middle of the space is kept open, to leave room for events such as presentations, lectures and masterclasses, as well as mobile exhibitions.

Piterskii and Borodina totally dismantled the interior of the former space, a café. Built using a material palette of plaster, concrete and metal, the monochromatic grey room inherently highlights the vibrant stands and projects on display. Lighting is affixed to ceiling bars, and can easily be adjusted to create varying accents when the exhibition content is changed. And visitors can comfortably peruse the space: soft pedestals arranged throughout the showroom’s centre have space inside to hold a guest’s belongings should they be visiting Gallery GIF for an event.

‘Minimalism in this project was expressed not only in general stylistic decisions, but also in the project implementation process itself,’ explain Piterskii and Borodina. ‘In a short time and with a minimum budget, we managed to create a place where new ideas could be born.’ Indeed, entrepreneurs likewise hoping to build a stage for local creativity and commerce can take notes.