Taking inspiration from the multifaceted lifestyles of Shanghai millennials, Kokaistudio’s interiors for Assemble by Réel concept store quite literally brings the outside in. Taking shoppers on a style journey, landmarked by striking installations, the resulting layout guides visitors through distinct districts and trends in a way that is nothing if not memorable.
Project name: Assemble by Réel
Location: Shanghai, China
Floor area: 1037
Date of completion: August 2018
Interior Design: Kokaistudios
Chief Designers: Filippo Gabbiani, Andrea Destefanis
Project Manager: Ian Yu, Chang Qing
Design Team: Alex Jiang, Rebecca Huang, Samo Xu
Photography: Dirk Weiblen
Text: Frances Arnold
Located on the third floor of a high-end shopping mall in Shanghai, Assemble by Réel is a men’s fashion and lifestyle concept store. In creating the venue’s layout and approach, Kokaistudios looked to the city itself and the style-inspired passions of its young, trendy demographic. With this in mind, interiors feature eye-catching installations based on recognizable architectural city motifs, each signalling a distinct fashion approach: classic, designer, urban, and contemporary. Collectively, these four zones speak to the lifestyle of a generation of China’s coolest consumers, guiding visitors on a clear journey, and creating a memorable shopping experience.
Occupying a single-floor space of over 1,000sqm, a focal point is a floor-to-ceiling window along one side of the store, overlooking leafy Jing’an Park. To capitalize on this natural light, designers opted for a partially open-plan solution, creating defined areas for distinct product presentations: Church, Park, Skate Park, and Gallery. The solution simultaneously optimizes the store’s attractive natural light and allows for transportive walkways, all the while preserving the impact of the space’s sheer size. The result is a journey through an eclectic, curated assortment of styles and lifestyles.
On entering the store’s primary point of access, visitors find themselves surrounded by the dramatic arches of a majestic colonnade. Angled partitions, finished to resemble classical travertine plaster, offer intriguing glimpses into and through an area dedicated to quintessential fashions: blazers, high-end leather goods, and so on. Soft, diffused light creates an atmosphere of calm sophistication, while the otherwise enclosed walkways, elegantly opened by way of wood-lined archways, and evokes a maze-like intimacy that is in stark contrast to the shop floor beyond.
Next, shoppers are guided to a noticeably more tranquil Park-themed area. Airy and open, the section abstracts and extends the green landscape beyond its floor-to-ceiling windows. For example, tree-like cylindrical forms are scattered throughout, alongside wooden display units. Taking centre stage is a raised conversation pit, evocative of a stylized park bandstand or pavilion. Cozy and intimate, it is designed with coffee and respite in mind, and reinforces the store’s lifestyle theme. Natural in tone, the area makes for a stylish backdrop for the store’s most avant-garde designer lines.
From here, shoppers emerge into one of the store’s most impressive areas: Skate Park. Palpably urban in both content and tone, products are positioned around terraced terrazzo steps. Purposefully cast inside the space for authenticity and an appreciable rawness, the installation functions as both an eye-catching display for street wear and shoes, as well as seating for events. Sloped roofed fitting rooms make a playful nod to skateboard ramps, while light projections throughout the area lend dynamism to the space.
Concluding visitors’ city-themed lifestyle journey is a Gallery-inspired area. A secondary access point into the space, its exhibit-like displays extend into the mall itself, enticing shoppers through an intriguing arrangement of lifestyle accessories. Bright white, and with translucent partitions teasing at objects yet to discover, products are positioned in and on stark perforated cubes.
An interior of four distinctive quarters that combine to reveal the complex, multifaceted lifestyles of a young generation of consumers, the solution celebrates individual style. On a functional level, compartmentalizing the otherwise expansive space creates a carefully constructed circulation, with the store’s layout designed to take shoppers on a journey of discovery both literal and figurative. With anchors and waypoints that speak to the metropolis itself, Assemble by Réel abstracts and condenses cities, celebrating the myriad lifestyles they harbor.