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Kokaistudios Encourages Discovery in Réel Shanghai Store

PVD-coated stainless steel panels create dimension and light across the ceiling of the entry. Photography by Dirk Weiblen.

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.”

Pillars incorporate LED screens as wayfinding for the open-plan layout. Photography by Dirk Weiblen.

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.”

The VIP corridor, clad in alternating panels of brushed stainless steel and metal mesh backed with white plaster, terminates in a customer service suite with a custom brushed stainless steel desk and BoConcept seating. Photography by Dirk Weiblen.
Custom fixtures of rippled glass enclose suspended LED light tubes. Photography by Dirk Weiblen.
Faux-stone PVC integrates display shelves across the walls. Photography by Dirk Weiblen.
Akimbo displays mix PVC and stainless steel. Photography by Dirk Weiblen.

Read next: Kokaistudios Builds a City for Assemble by Réel’s Shanghai Concept Store

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