Turning constraints into opportunity, an architect designs a moving vertical retail display

Nagoya – For Descente Blanc’s inaugural shop-in-shop, Schemata Architects wanted to broadcast the cool clarifying freshness of a first snow. They began by taking advantage of the site's shallow but broad retail floor, suspending rows of vertically moving display systems across the entire width of the store. Jackets, hoodies and puffers are displayed in tight-packed rows which can be lowered to about half a metre off the floor, or kept up within the disguised double-height ceiling, leaving the trowelled masonry floor beneath them entirely clear.

Top: Schemata made a virtue of the shop's shallow, broad retail floor, instead of considering it a constraint. They hung garments from the ceiling, across the entire width of the floor, on industrial steel poles.

If the latter is the case, walking into the store from the corridor, shoppers at first see only the bottom hems of the jackets overhead until, having fully entered, they find that the ceiling above them is a sea of garments. When the displays are down, however, they fill the entire width of the store, so that both staff and customers use part of the corridor that runs along the storefront as a way to circulate through the retail floor, blurring the boundary between commercial and public space. According to the architects, this subtle tool, along with the generous emptiness of the shop floor, ‘creates an inviting atmosphere where shoppers feel welcomed.’


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

Location 3 Chome-28-12 Meieki, Nakamura Ward, Nagoya, Aichi 450-0002, Japan

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