Text description provided by the architects. 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. Bohlin Cywinski Jackson coordinated with the buildings original designers, Shanghai based Jiang Architects & Engineers to create a memorable flagship store for Uniqlo.
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.
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.
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.