AN URBAN RETREAT

LUKSTUDIO is a design practice based in Shanghai, China. Founded by Christina Luk in 2011, the studio is comprised of an international team with diverse backgrounds and cultural perspectives. One of their latest project is EMME Store in Shanghai.

EMME prides itself on its collection of cashmere, silk and other textiles. It has chosen its first location at the Columbia Circle, a recently rehabilitated hub. Among its neighbouring prominent historical and industrial buildings, the boutique has been designed as a hidden gem off the beaten track, making a connection with nature and delivering the brand’s pursuit of quality in life.

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The retail site is on the ground floor of a building, Lukstudio sees the opportunity to create an architectural promenade. Adding a verandah structure surrounding a minimal front yard, the new storefront gives a serene first impression. The additional envelop is comprised of concrete panels with wood grain imprint and wooden slats; while the former encloses, the latter reveals. When one passes through the entrance, movement activates the see-through structure and performs a visual rhythm.

The boundary between interior and exterior is blurred to create a presence of nature in the store. The outdoor concrete wall texture is continued to the indoor gallery, visually connecting the two entry spaces into one. On a good day, a pair of sliding doors physically opens the yard to the store. Apart from framing views of the outdoor yard and planting trees within the store, the idea of nature is further expressed with materiality and lighting. A light palette of stone, wood and polished concrete is chosen to complement the natural cashmere garments on display. Together with the use of diffused sunlight, a cozy atmosphere is conjured to soothe the body and the mind.

While the open floor design fulfils the purpose of a retail store, the various display zones recalls different parts of a house. While the multi-room design allows the changing curation of art, fashion and home decor every season, the idea of spatial continuity is enhanced by a series of mirrors that fuses the layered interiors and brings in the exterior in reflection. Every visit to the store could be a unique experience according to the time, the weather and the collection on display.

Photography by Fangfang Tian

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