BEIJING – The refreshing philosophy of Chinese retailer AnyShopStyle holds that fashion is based on personal taste (as opposed to the opinions of industry insiders) and that emerging designers are as good for business as business is good for emerging designers. In brief: exclusivity is out of style. Tasked with designing the brand’s Sanlitun concept store in Beijing, local firm We Architech Anonymous (WAA) envisioned a space that would make fashion feel inclusive and would establish ‘a democratic space’ in which to showcase a rotating roster of work by 300-plus designers and their micro-collections.
To display such a large number of labels equably, the glazed floor-to-ceiling store front was cleared of imagery, signage and branding, thus placing the focus on the apparel alone. Because it is impossible to anticipate all the colours of designs that will sweep through the shop, the backdrop defining the interior was rendered in a high-contrast but limited palette composed of peach, camel and midnight blue – each borrowed from Untitled (50°54’37” N, 4°24’26” E) 9”, an oil painting by Belgian artist Pieter Vermeersch. The shop’s large planes of colour and hyper-graphical forms are balanced by the bareness of their surfaces, resulting in a strong canvas on which to present the collections.
WAA turned the interior into an abstracted Platonic landscape with the aid of basic geometric shapes: triangles represent the earth and circles the sky, while squares outline the details (clothes) of daily life. A centrally positioned display unit consists of chamfered triangular blocks of engineered quartz. Stacked unevenly, these appear to cascade before flattening into a field of triangular floor tiles that form an irregular pattern, suggesting an outcropping of rock. Around the unit, a lavender carpet carves a jagged path through the terrain. Garments are framed by perforated metal and illuminated Barrisol wall panels, and spare brass hanging rails run almost the length of the room. Sliding doors, also made from perforated metal, conceal fitting rooms and cash desk. Overhead, surveying it all, another sheet of Barrisol surrounds a large circular ceiling fixture that provides diffused and seemingly natural light. Inside this shop, a new day is always dawning.
Photos courtesy of WAA
This article debuted in Frame #108 alongside many other inspirational interviews and projects. Find your copy in the online Frame store.