Constantly renewing, Nike’s Shanghai retail lab is a literal house of innovation

To give our audience eyes and ears into the live judging sessions that took place at Frame Awards 2020, we're sharing coverage of the insightful jury conversations that decided the winning projects. Below, we celebrate the recipient of the award for Pop-Up Store of the Year: Nike’s House of Innovation In-Store Installations by Coordination Asia. Find the full collection of reports in our newly released May/June 2020 issue, Frame 134.

Shanghai – Although more in-store installation than pop-up store, Coordination Asia’s House of Innovation (HOI) project in Shanghai has the typology’s hazy classification to thank for its win. What constitutes a pop-up these days? That question dominated the start of jury deliberations. ‘It’s a marketing tool,’ answered Andreas Bozarth Fornell of Specific Generic. ‘They’re opportunities to engage your customers,’ said Natacha Prihnenko of Hermès, ‘but maybe we should accept that a pop-up is hard to define.’ That’s because some are there today, gone tomorrow, whereas others linger longer than a pop-up perhaps should. Some travel around, others are purpose-built. The jury conceded that while no entry reinvented the genre, Coordination Asia’s was ‘a strong entry on multiple levels’.

‘Coordination Asia highlighted the product benefits, but in a playful way.’ (Jury member Marsha Meredith, Aēsop).

HOI certainly fulfils the temporality factor. The theme changes every few weeks in line with featured collections – and the entire space along with it. Each makeover is a new iteration of the core concept in an immersive lab-like environment. The jury was most drawn to a sculptural arrangement of 120 speakers playing street-sourced sounds: ‘Humorous, clever and entertaining’, they said. ‘I can imagine these installations translating into window displays.’ (Bozarth Fornell). It wasn’t a complete home run, though. ‘Haven’t you seen this before from Nike?’ asked De Bijenkorf’s Vincent Sturkenboom. ‘Is it bringing the industry forward or just a well-executed project?’ Hannah Carter Owers had a question of her own: ‘What happened to “Just Do It”? A whole load of unnecessary show biz relegates the actual products as secondary players to the over-elaborate set design and props.’ On the other hand, according to Prihnenko, ‘pop-ups should be about exaggeration’.

At the opposite end of the scale, the jury highly commended Hay Tokyo by Schemata Architects (the studio’s second close Awards encounter), for ‘creating maximum impact with minimum effort, drawing customers in from the street with a splash of colour’.

Frame Awards 2020’s Retail category was proudly sponsored by Chemetal. The People’s Choice award went to Gacha Gacha Coffee by Nendo.

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