Distinct from our prior design works, the Huizi Chen Multi-Brands Store project has helped us embark on a brand new path in retail store designing. It is more of something naturally coming into being instead of intentional efforts. We used to interpret spaces through storytelling, yet we gradually find that exploring stories behind the spaces sometimes may lead us nowhere. We need to find a way to let space grow and extend on its own, as a themed story can never truly become the soul of a space. So this time, we decide to blaze a new trail. Why not put aside those meaningless stories and just play a game with the space and enjoy the space itself?
In other words, for this project we will try to tell a story about design rather than to express the design through storytelling.
On our first visit, we discovered the two sides of the space. On one hand, the roughcast business space looks too simple and crude. It is hard to find anything impressive from the porch, facade or the inner space. On the other, though crude and rough may it seem, we feel a natural force ready to come out at our call. That’s when we found the starting point of this design journey. Thanks to the property owner’s personal preference and cost-saving efforts, the “roughness” of the roughcast space was preserved well.
We believe the key to this design was to shape a fluid and flowing shopping path in this “crude empty box”, thus to bring a pleasant and interesting shopping experience. Our quest finally resulted in a simple and transparent frame, which not only can be used to display clothes, but also to enrich the spatial depth. Six sets of frames with similar size and form can provide enough space for clothing display; while a set of large frame serves as a multi-functional space for party, salon, reception and training etc. Transparent and in agreeable size, the frames create changing spatial patterns and won’t be too dazzling to steal the show when shoppers wander along. Besides, we don’t want it to be a mere display for goods, filled with noisy beats and commercial vibe. So by ingeniously merging into the space, the frame adds more artistic elements to the clothes displayed.
For the inner space, we divided the big space into smaller ones to create an art-gallery like shopping experience. The entrance has been designed specially to enhance the artistic quality. The pavement to the entrance is made of large grains of beige terrazzo and has been elevated 30cm to create a variation in height from the outside to the inside. Leading to the big “rough” space inside, all the ramps and footpaths winding through in different directions add to the sense of ceremony and orderliness. The fa?ade features a concise and controlled style, though simple and peaceful but quite rich in detail and variation. In this way, the store fa?ade outstands itself from the boring black building façade in the background, attractive to the eye but not exaggerative or showy.
In designing the inner space of Huizi Chen Multi-Brands Store, we tried to take a minimalistic approach by learning from our favorite minimalistic artist Donald Judd and his “Specific items”. In prop design, we decided to innovate in the use of materials and colors to fully stimulate people’s senses. This time, we didn’t knit metaphors, allegories or stories in space. We just want to show you “specific items” (including clothes) and the relationship between these items and the space. The combination of African rosewood hanging rod and striped stainless-steel form the main subject in the space, with the contrast in material and color showing an underlying force. As ingenious designers full of fancy ideas, we don’t want to shape the space into a pure “art gallery”. So, we copied several works of art from minimalistic artists and hanged them on the roughcast walls and the blank space to fill the void. It can not only be regarded as a salute to our admired artists, but also bring a kind of humor to the space as shoppers may find clues leading them to another dimension. We believe such space and experience will bring delight and fun to the visitors.
In summary, by taking a minimalistic design strategy, we emphasize on the expression of essential elements, both in spatial forms and the selection of color and materials, instead of showing too many forms, materials, and colors. Finally, we create a peaceful and powerful “field” in a seemingly “boring and rough” space. The shoppers’ feedback also verified our initial design assumption, who are saying it is an interesting store worth lingering around.
项目设计 & 完成年份：2020
Project name：Huizi Chen Multi-Brands Store in Shaoxing
Design year & Completion Year：2020
Leader designer & Team：Lin Wang, Xinling Jiang, Yupeng Du, Yang Chen
Project location：West Yangjiang Road 292, Shao Xing
Photo credits：Lu Haha
Brands / Products used in the project：CDN Light, Nippon Paint, Yuanyi Terrazzo