Spendthrifts, take note—these standout shopping destinations in Asia will give you a dose of retail therapy. For more inspiration, check out our retail design board on Pinterest.
1. ACNE Studios by Sophie Hicks Architects
ACNE Studios creative director Jonny Johansson brought in Sophie Hicks Architects from London to design the Swedish fashion label’s Seoul boutique. To set off ACNE’s bold, multicolored statement pieces, Hicks envisioned the flagship as a ghostly light box with “very little outward expression.” Fiercely minimalistic, the interior’s spareness is immediately striking—concrete distinguishes interior walls, structural columns, and a spiral staircase that links women’s and men’s levels.
2. Pigment by Kengo Kuma & Associates
Uniting an array of Japanese painting traditions under one roof, Tokyo-based Pigment is an artist’s dream. Kengo Kuma & Associates suspended an undulating bamboo canopy overhead, which seamlessly transitions into narrow shelving that stocks thousands of vibrantly-colored pigment jars.
3. Fangsuo Commune by Chu Chih-Kang Space Design Co.
Customers enter Chengdu, China’s Fangsuo Commune through a glass-enclosed escalator, passing through a brushed-copper tube, to a man-made cavern below. Designed by Chu Chih-Kang Space Design Co., the concept store features 37 concrete columns that hold up the 30-foot ceiling and even support a child-friendly treehouse.
4. Boontheshop by Peter Marino Architect
Luxury women’s wear emporium Boontheshop’s interior is a stunner akin to monumental sculpture—it’s also Interior Design Hall of Famer Peter Marino’s first ground-up project in South Korea. Seven above-grade levels, totaling 55,000 square feet, feature an “aggressive” materials palette of concrete and raw metals, fittingly aimed at a younger, progressive clientele.
5. COEX Retail Center by Gensler
What might appear as a mall is actually COEX—a sprawling, 21-acre subterranean public arena in Gangnam, Seoul, housing retail destinations, movie theaters, almost 100 restaurants, and even an aquarium. Gensler Los Angeles principal Duncan Paterson radically reorganized the complex’s circulation and maximized natural illumination through a glass-clad street pyramid. “We designed something with greater flexibility for the future so it should really last, says Paterson.
6. Siwilai Concept Store by Yabu Pushelberg
Interior Design Hall of Famers George Yabu and Glenn Pushelberg know a thing or two about luxury. The two channeled their love of local discoveries into Siwilai, a concept store at Bangkok’s Central Embassy mall, which specializes in world-class shopping with local flavor. The store’s wares center on a town square–like central component, with various departments arrayed around it market-style. The Thai vernacular dominates the cafe, where a colorful canopy was inspired by the roofs of Bangkok’s vaunted shop-houses.
7. SND Boutique by 3Gatti
A floating, undulating canopy dominates the SND women’s fashion boutique in Chongqing, China. Layers of white fiberglass sheets descend from overhead to form cozy spaces connected by a meandering path, where customers encounter clothing and accessories snuck into various folds. “This kind of curve was quite instinctive when I started to sketch it,” says Francesco Gatti of 3Gatti. Fabricating 10,000 fiberglass panels and suspending them in four months may have proved difficult, but 3Gatti masterminded the shop’s sense of discovery sans disorientation.