Shanghai – From the façade in, fashion retailer Concepts' first China store keeps with its Shikumen-style neighbours, housed in a century-old building in Shanghai’s Xintiandi. But all is not that meets the eye: if you look closely at the outside doors and windows, stainless steel materials have been rotated vertically to 90 degrees, embellished into the old grey bricks. It’s the first hint of the two totally different interiors multidisciplinary design studio Dongqi Architects created for Concepts Xintiandi’s front and back spaces, a solution to fulfil the retailer’s diverse operational needs.
Dongqi Architects opted to retain the original Shikumen elements of the building in the entry area as it offers a warm, sociable ambiance ideal for reception and Concepts’ events, product shows and sneaker releases. The back space however – built with anodic aluminium oxide, stainless steel, metal textiles, carbon fibre and terrazzo – is designed to be in complete juxtaposition with the front. This futuristic, illusory sales area is deliberately blocked from the main route to build a sense of suspense and mystery.