In China, furniture companies are getting wise to millennial-friendly retail

Shanghai – When an established furniture retailer in China decided to create a spin-off store to appeal to a younger clientele, they turned to Greek-born, Shanghai-based architect Kostas Chatzigiannis for its spatial execution. The Shouter – a multi-brand furniture and home decoration store in Shanghai – is baited for China’s super consumers: to be specific, its 400 million-plus millennials.

The retailer understood that appealing to the aesthetic senses of the luxury-minded generation meant the shop needed to embody and reflect the age group’s ‘unique context of living,’ according to Chatzigiannis. Of course, this seduction strategy has been used across sectors and is very well-practiced in fashion retail, but Chatzigiannis’ work supports the case for its application in the Chinese furniture-and-décor market.

The Shouter is conceptualized to be and designed to look like an outlier among its competitors. ‘The interior design tries to establish a play between the ruggedness of its materiality and the sleek aesthetic of the objects within,’ explains Chatzigiannis. Many of the objects he refers to are offered in limited editions – the content and the unconventional setting work in unison to pander to millennials’ penchant for exclusivity. LED light structures function to frame premium pieces.

Gaping cracks and holes on the façade’s massive concrete walls partially expose the 250-sq-m interiors, in which shoppers can circulate freely through various entry and exit points. In some areas, large glass cabinets obstruct access; product displays in the centre of the space call to mind shapes and forms characteristic to the Memphis Group. Terrazzo tiles embedded with glass marbles and colourful resin boards contribute to the tactile materiality.

‘As the home decoration aspirations in China are ever changing,’ says Chatzigiannis, ‘This store does not attempt to define them, rather participates, in an anecdotal way, to the accidental game that creates them.’

Location 1388 Wuzhong Rd Minhang Qu, Shanghai Shi, China, 200050

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