Compiled by Savitha Hira
Photography: Yujie Liu/Jianzhou Wang; courtesy v2com
Read Time: 2 mins
AN Design explores the unexpected in retail, using an all-black envelope, where the material, the lights, the details and the experience become ambulatory...
Conviction stands in for many a new idiom. Designers Shanwei Weng and Jiadie Yuan work constructively towards replacing inertial thinking with breakthrough approaches. As winners of the most coveted World Interior of the Year 2016 at the INSIDE Festival, they have been extensively lauded for their out-of-box approach in designing the HEIKE fashion brand concept store in Hangzhou Shi, China.
Hidden on the second floor of a furniture store, the HEIKE concept store, which is approachable via a centrally positioned narrow staircase, is conceptualised as a dark and invasive volume that serves as a retail outlet as well as a gallery for exhibitions and events
Often referencing design to the fifth estate, the designers metaphorically insert ‘text on a blank page’ by treating the stairway approach to HEIKE as a simultaneously concealed and enhanced sculptural black block. Named the ‘Black Cant’, this large slanted wedge separates by connecting and incorporates the passage from the ground to the first floor. It also houses within its contours, the fitting room and stock areas.
Setting the tone of the interior architecture, this wedge is complemented by adjunct geometric, cutting shapes, minimal furnishings and a varied range of materials such as concrete, steel, aluminum and mirrors. Different textures are used to juxtapose matt and shiny surfaces, all of them in strictly gray and black shades, depicting eloquent signs of craftsmanship.
Other examples include the raw concrete construction in contrast with polished floors; steel window structures, hangers, the intensely black marble-dust finish and the polished metals.
This conceptual poetry is a spatial experiment to create an innovative example of interior design for an independent fashion brand. As the INSIDE stated, “it calls into question the conventional idea of a fashion retail store.”