As an architect, perhaps it was unsurprising that Junya Ishigami’s goal for this project was to create a work of architecture indoors. Nonetheless, it was the location of the Jins store in the Shanghai World Financial Centre that drove Ishigami to create a ‘huge emptiness within the crowded shopping mall’. Almost everything, including colour, was stripped away in a minimal interior where form follows function.

Five monolithic 12-m-long and 25-cm-deep concrete blocks dominate the store and, despite their volume, seem to float in the air. While three display eyewear products, the other two are used for customer assistance and product assembly. Each contains a pre-stressed steel cantilever structure covered with tons of concrete positioned at the same height of 80 cm to create a low, flat landscape. The dimensions and volume aren’t merely eye candy: the length, width and depth have been carefully considered to ensure the maximum linear display and enable easy circulation for customers.

Top: The Jins company logo is the only element of a traditional storefront present in Ishigami’s minimal design. | Middle: Tables extend right to the edge of the store premises, meaning that customers have to leave the store to enter another aisle. | Bottom: Exposed piping forms a stark contrast to the polished elegance of the eyewear products beneath.

Ishigami’s concept is so minimal that there isn’t even a storefront. All that separates the store from the corridor are solid steel shutters. Once these rise, the line between corridor and store blurs, so much so that customers wishing to move between the concrete blocks must leave the store to re-enter it.

This project was featured in the latest volume of our retail-design series, Powershop 6. Get your copy here.