Exploring a new spatial model of Post-COVID store

Project Specs


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Appreciation towards HARUKI OKU DESIGN + PAN- PROJECTS for providing the following description:


The Playhouse is a full renovation project of 3 stories high building locates in a busy fashion district of Tokyo, Aoyama in Japan. The building accommodates a British fashion store on the ground and first level, and a hall for a wedding and event planning company on the second level. Our design team was challenged to envision a new spatial model of Post-COVID store by reconsidering the existing function of physical shops. One of the impact caused by the global coronavirus pandemic is remarkable acceleration of digitalization. This ongoing rapid movement indicates the future in which the shopping experience will be greatly more common to be done through virtual stores. In response to this social situation, the team proposed to reimagine the spatial function of the physical store from a conventional concept of a place to purchase goods into a place to learn, discover and experience the cultures related to the brands of products. If the act of purchase can be done virtually, the ultimate purpose of a physical store should be to elevate potential customers’ interest which will connect them to product sales.

▼项目外立面,external facade © Kenji Seo

▼移动的帘幕,the movable curtain © Kenji Seo


The project is started by considering the whole building as an alternative form of theatre by designing transformable architectural elements that allow a variety of events to take place throughout the building. The entrance atrium is designed as a fly tower with a movable curtain that creates a temporary stage for events such as talks and concerts, accommodating up to 50 people.

▼帘幕内部,inside view of the curtain © Kenji Seo

▼高挑的入口门厅,tall entrance atrium © Kenji Seo


▼轴测与一层平面,axon drawings and gound floor plan © HARUKI OKU DESIGN + PAN- PROJECT

The shop area on the ground level is composed with multiple rotatable walls, providing flexible space for hosting various activities like pop-up market, fashion show or workshops. Each wall is allocated to a different brand that regularly changes in every few months, creating a collection of small pop-up stores across the floor. The foyer placed in the center of the first floor leading guests to the main hall on the second level while shaping a display space for the shop’s permanent brands’ products on its periphery. The hall on the second floor is composed with various textiles that allows the space to fluctuate its size in order to host events of various scales and contents.

▼可旋转的隔板,rotatable walls © Kenji Seo

▼一群小型快闪店,the collection of small pop-up stores © Kenji Seo

▼从楼梯回望入口,view back to the entrance from the staircase © Kenji Seo

▼二层中央的楼梯,the staircase placed in the center of the first floor © Kenji Seo

▼常驻品牌的产品的展示空间,the display space for the shop’s permanent brands’ products © Kenji Seo

▼不同角度的隔板,different views to the walls © Kenji Seo


The Playhouse challenged the conventional spatial model of shops by creating rooms for culture and diverse activities to co-exist whilst the sales space rather than dedicate entire floor for displaying products. The project aimed to explore one of the possible future of shop space for Post-COVID society where virtualization of our living lives become more established.

▼使用场景,usage scenarios © Kenji Seo

▼细部,details © Kenji Seo

▼一层平面图,ground floor plan © HARUKI OKU DESIGN + PAN- PROJECT

▼二层平面图,first floor plan © HARUKI OKU DESIGN + PAN- PROJECT

▼三层平面图,second floor plan © HARUKI OKU DESIGN + PAN- PROJECT

Project name: The Playhouse
Completion Year: October, 2020
Gross Built Area: 1356m2
Project location: Tokyo, Japan
Photo credits: Kenji Seo
Photographer’s website:

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