Text description provided by the architects. Situated within Columbia Circle, the recently completed OMA-designed commercial development in Shanghai, Neri&Hu has created a flagship store for Jisifang, a new multi-brand retailer. Specializing in garments and accessories made from the highest quality silks, wools, cottons and linens, the interior design for the shop is an homage to these natural textiles, their material authenticity, visceral tactility, and textural richness.
For the façade and entry, the strategy was to enhance the architectural elements already in existence with additional subtle layers. To balance the coldness of the steel structure and metal mesh canopy above, a wooden deck is added to the ground for hint of warmth, as well as to give a stronger street presence to the shop, where perhaps in the future, exterior furniture may be added for a dynamic interaction with pedestrians.
To treat the historic aggregate concrete façade wall, which was once composed of various sized openings, a new series of black metal frames is layered on top. Establishing a regular size and rhythm, the new frames form a recognizable, unified language for both window displays and the shop entry.
Upon entering one is immersed within a carefully balanced constellation of lantern enclosures. Each suspended cylindrical enclosure features a category within the brand’s oeuvre, and provides a contemplative space that harmonizes and celebrates its contents. Hung from a circular wooden ring, the textile drapery provides a backdrop to foreground the hanging garments within, while also shielding the visitor from any visual clutter.
The enclosures vary in scale and character, ranging from a two meter diameter changing room, a shelved enclosure for home goods, to a seven meter diameter central showroom with display table. As one circumambulates the enclosures, the layers of sheer drapery simultaneously delineate and blur thresholds between lifestyle experiences and product categories within.
Inspired by the purity of the materials of the products, the space is composed largely of a natural and humble material palette as well—organic cotton drapery, light oak furniture, matte ivory terracotta walls, raw steel accents, and reclaimed gray brick. The interior perimeter wall is circumscribed by the saw-toothed terracotta bricks which follow and wrap the enclosures, and within which dark metal window frames and display spaces are inserted. The concrete floor plane is broken below by concentric rings of reclaimed brick, sometimes rising gently to form a display pedestal. The intentional contrast between solid heavy elements on the ground