When Réel asked Kokaistudios to design the womenswear department in its West Nanjing Road store in Shanghai, the team could immediately see the challenge: a 5,400-square-foot space entirely visible upon arrival, from the front displays to the dead end at the back.
“We set out to find elegant solutions to encourage discovery, says Kokaistudios’ cofounder and principal architect Andrea Destefanis. “We did not want to create a central pop-up island. Instead, we were inspired by some photos of folded paper screens and contemporary theater staging, with a sense of depth and rhythm composed of geometric openings and large plain surfaces.”
The result is a directional interior with off-center display units, and faux beams and columns that double as fitting rooms. Floors and gates are matte and polished black granite, to bring architectural definition. And Tarkett PVC proved especially useful: “Its solid-core nature enabled us to produce very clean-cut corners,” says Destefanis. “With its mineral-inspired composition, every block takes on a monolithic visual weight. It will be interesting to experiment with this material more.”