As a successful brand, BANANAFISH boasts a group of loyal devotees, its old shop graced by a unique space atmosphere, has already become the cherished memory of many old customers.
For this reason, designing a new flagship store for BANANAFISH was quite the challenge. After in-depth discussions with Banana Fish’s managers and a flurry of drafts and revisions, we finally selected a scheme aimed to transmit a sense of spatial atmosphere by balancing scale and material textures.
The old store abides to the “small but pretty” motto, while the new store spans through a much larger site area, its ceiling being also much higher. In an attempt to echo memories from the old store, we first devised a clear layering of the site along cross-sectional lines, emphasizing the spatial height of each floor with dramatic contrast, and arranged the site according to a rhythm pattern of high-low-high-low-high, within which the highest point extends to the bottom of the structural plate, and the lowest point drops to a limit value of 2.2 meters net height.
These five spatial levels embody functions of entrance (high) – magazine area (low) – exhibition hall (high) – book area (low) and café (high), higher sections on both sides also form a spatial scale connection with urban roads and outdoor gardens.
The two low areas correspond to the two main stacking spaces for magazines and books, and bear the task of “evoking” memories of the old shop. A 2.2-meter-high space rarely appears in the design of commercial spaces, and the moment customers switch from high space to low space, it will induce a surprising sensation of being wrapped by it. To the goal of heightening emotional response, we adopted a labyrinthine layout of fully flowing space in the book area, bringing each interface of the space closer to the body of the experiencer.
In the old shop, the two managers designed and made all the furniture themselves using birch multi-layer panels. We took this material and elevated it from the scale of “furniture” to that of “building components”. Through the “thick puzzle” stacking method, the number of layers of multi-layer panels is further increased, and a 10 cm thick patchwork section is directly displayed, thus becoming the skeleton frame of the site and a sort of “picture frame” of all furniture.
In order to channel sight lines, we “carved out” the physical part of the shelfs at an elevation of 90 to 130 cm for each shelf. When walking within the site, the penetration of the sight lines is localized, and only a tiny section of the adjacent space or other people’s body parts can be seen; After sitting down, the human body’s gaze level should align perfectly with the sight lines, so that the entire space can be browsed at once, all the readers within it. Additionally, you should also be able to get a tantalizing glimpse of the plants in the garden.
We sincerely hope that guests shall perceive our homage to the atmosphere of the old store, while treasuring the opportunity for exploration given by the new one.
Project name:BANANAFISH BOOKSTORE
Architect’ Firm: SpaceStation Architects
Contact e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Lead Architects: Zheng Wang
Project location: Ruby Road, Changning District, Shanghai
Completion Year: 2021年
Gross Built Area (square meters or square foot): 350㎡
Construction Team：Shanghai Architectural Decoration (Group) Co., Ltd.
Photo credits : SpaceStation
Photographer’s website: www.spacestationarchitects.com