dongqi Architects is commissioned by CONCEPTS to renovate a Shikumen-style (‘Stone Warehouse Gate’) old building into its first concept store in China. The old building is located at the South Block of Xintiandi and has served Shanghai for over 100 years.
▼建筑概览，exterior view ©吴清山
▼临街立面，street facade ©吴清山
▼从里弄望向零售区域，view to the retail area from the alley ©吴清山
In this project, the store needs to reconcile two different operational needs — daily retail sales and releases of limited-edition sneakers. dongqi Architects divides the original space into two spaces with distinguishable vibes. The front space along the main path is in keeping with the original Shikumen style of buildings in old Shanghai. Its delightful and cozy ambiance makes it a suitable reception room for product shows or events. The back space for retail sales is deliberately blocked from the main path to create a sense of mystery. Unlike the front space, the back space is built with anodic aluminum oxide, stainless steel, metal textiles, carbon fiber and terrazzo etc.
▼前部空间，the front space ©吴清山
▼前部空间与零售空间的过渡，the transition form the front space to the retail area ©吴清山
The original building had a row of columns at the center that might negatively affect retailing. After careful consideration, dongqi Architects decided to strengthen the presence of the columns to give an impression of orderliness. They designed and added two more rows of columns to form an umbrella-shaped system, which successfully reinforced the order of space. Under the umbrella-shaped system, there are relatively independent and quiet showrooms for merchandising displays. This way of display gives out a sense of solemnness and makes shopping a special experience. Moreover, it enables the access aisle to look clean and pure and brings a sense of drama to the room.
▼零售区概览，retail area ©吴清山
▼零售展示功能被置于伞型系统下，showrooms are set under the umbrella-shaped system ©吴清山
▼干净纯粹的交通空间，a clean and pure circulation ©吴清山
▼空间细部，interior view ©吴清山
▼每个展示区为相对独立安静的小空间，independent and quiet showroom ©吴清山
▼“伞”下的座椅，seating area under the “unmbrella” ©吴清山
▼百叶状阳极氧化铝板，anodic alumina shutters ©吴清山
▼天花板视角，ceiling view ©吴清山
In the umbrella-shaped system, shutters are open or closed to certain degrees based on a designed algorithm. The slats of shutters, which are made of anodic alumina, are able to change angles at different heights to meet the operational needs while maintaining aesthetics. For example, the MEP air conditioning and the lighting system are hidden at the higher place of the columns and the power system are hidden at the lower place. Lights, closed-circuit television, audio sound system, and fire safety equipment are carefully placed between columns.
▼伞形系统，the umbrella-shaped system ©吴清山
▼不锈钢节点示意图，stainless-steel joint ©栋栖设计
Anodic alumina slats of different shapes are fixed to each position by stainless-steel joints specially designed, prototyped and produced for CONCEPTS. Each of the specially created joints enables 3-axis rotation so as to fix materials firmly to a position and fulfill customized functions. The joints are also used to make the adjustable display racks, walls of the fitting room, doorknobs and hangers that can suit different angles.
▼挂衣架和陈列层板细部，hangers and display racks ©吴清山
▼陈列架，display racks ©吴清山
▼玻璃陈列架，glass display panel ©吴清山
空间两侧墙面分别采用镜面不锈钢和混凝土两种材质，由此产生一个镜像的空间，视觉上增加了空间的宽度和伞的数量，增强了整个场所的序列感。 地面水磨石的分缝为伞型系统的正投影线，并沿纵深方向水磨石颜色配比逐渐变化，产生错觉。与之对应的是镜面不锈钢墙体表面采用不同程度的的手工打磨，产生整体由纯镜面到雾面的均匀渐变 。
▼镜像空间，mirrored space ©吴清山
Walls at two sides of the space are made of mirror-finish stainless steel and concrete. These materials create another space in mirror. The mirror effect widens the space and multiplies the number of umbrella columns, giving a stronger sense of order. Another optical illusion of depth is created by overlapping joint lines of the terrazzo floor with the orthogonal projection of the umbrella-shaped system and changing terrazzo mixture. One may notice that the floor gradually switches colors. To match the style of the floor, the whole surface of stainless-steel walls shows a gradient effect from mirror-like finish to matte finish. This is achieved by a hand-crafted polishing method that changes polishing pressures at different parts of the walls.
▼“无限”延伸的走廊，an”infinite” corridor ©吴清山
Elements of the umbrella-shaped system can also be found at the door and windows of the building façade, in which stainless-steel materials have been rotated vertically to 90 degrees and embellished into the old Shikumen-style grey bricks. They are the first clue that the room inside has something new and special to offer.
▼窗景，window scenery ©吴清山
▼伞群组，umbrella system ©栋栖设计
▼伞和地面，umbrella system and paving ©栋栖设计