Uniqlo Shanghai / Bohlin Cywinski Jackson

© Nic Lehoux

Located within the main shopping district of Shanghai, the Uniqlo flagship store’s backlit skin of perforated metal, dramatic circular track with mannequins encased in acrylic futuristic capsules, robotic lighting, steel gravity tubes and glass panels successfully accomplished BCJ’s goal to create an iconic building for their client.

To say this project was challenging would be an understatement. It wasn’t just the teams working in three different languages and three different countries, or the state of the existing building – a dirt floored vacant building, but these circumstances paired with a government edict that all construction had to be within 30cm (12 inches) of the existing facade and completed prior to the Shanghai Expo in three months or the client would risk losing their lease added a bit of pressure. coordinated with the buildings original designers, Shanghai based Jiang Architects & Engineers to create a memorable flagship store for Uniqlo.

Photographs and sketches of Uniqlo Shanghai following the break.

Architects: Bohlin Cywinski Jackson
Location: Shanghai,
Principal for Design: Peter Bohlin, FAIA
Principal in Charge: Robert Miller AIA, LEED AP
Project Manager: Chris Evans, AIA
Project Team: Mark Adams Campie Ellis, AIA Nguyen Ha, Michael Hatcher, Nick Hons, Matt Wittman
Owner: Fast Retailing, Inc. Ltd. (Parent Company of Uniqlo)
Consultant: PCS Structural Solutions
Lighting Design: Candela
Facade Consultant: Axis Façade,
Rotating and Flying Mannequin Consultant: ZFX
Local Architect of Record: Jiang Architects & Engineers
Local Structural Engineer: Jiang Architects & Engineers
Translator: Turid Gronning
Contractor: Tanseisha Co. Ltd.
Project Area: 38,751 sqf
Project Year: 2010
Photographs: Nic Lehoux, Nácasa and Partners, Inc.

© Nic Lehoux

The client’s needs were to build their largest flagship store to introduce their brand and house their offices. The branding of the store required visibility of location with windowless space to display product however the government prevented exterior lighting or removal of the existing facade glass.

skin detail
© Nic Lehoux

A skin of perforated metal was used to transform and unify the building. A wall of product was constructed and set inboard of the existing glass by several feet to allow access for maintenance while creating a light-box within to backlight the perforated skin. Viewed from a distance, the patterning in the perforated skin creates the appearance of folded fabric, a subtle reference to the building’s use.

© Nic Lehoux

A rotating series of mannequins inhabit the entry. Robotic lighting tracks patron activity and engages them in a dramatic experience. A glass shard cuts through the existing concrete floors, and is animated with mannequins flying vertically on theatrical rigging. This new atrium brings light to the center of the deep floor-plates and clearly demarks the vertical circulation while titillating and sparking patron curiosity.

© Nic Lehoux
section with subway

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* Location to be used only as a reference. It could indicate city/country but not exact address.
Cite: "Uniqlo Shanghai / Bohlin Cywinski Jackson" 06 Jan 2011. ArchDaily. Accessed 24 May 2015. <http://www.archdaily.com/?p=101073>
  • joseph

    wrong location!

    • p

      How so this is definitely in Shanghai, I shopped here recently? Unless you mean the google map, which isn’t loading for me.

      It’s a cool store, but when you are inside you only really notice the elevating outfits from a few areas and the street is so busy (cars and lights) you don’t really notice the whole facade above the ground level.