In his wonderful book On the Art of Buildings in Ten Books, the well-known Renaissance architect Leon Battista Alberti argues that if the city reminds us of a big house and the great house looks like a tiny city, then why not see the different parts in the house as the miniature buildings in the city? Atelier Miss Lu‘s brand new space is an abstract miniature building designed around the philosophy of multi-dimensional women, oozing an infectiously minimal, lyrical, and enlightening aura.
Atelier Miss Lu draws inspiration from increasingly self-aware modern women and tries to strike a delicate balance between being feminized and being modern – by staying loyal to women’s intrinsic qualities while highly mirroring their individuality and modernity. Located in Shaanxi North Road, Shanghai, the project is renovated to improve its brand identity and brand image.
In modern society, buildings, roads and vegetation are interlaced and connected to establish a stable environmental order, and people in the environment are mobile. To express freedom in order and feel softness in firmness are the design concepts that Atelier Miss Lu adheres to. Inspired by contemporary women with rising self-awareness, Atelier Miss Lu tries to find a delicate balance between “femininity” and “modernity”: to reflect their highly individual modern spirit while remaining faithful to their original qualities.
In design, MDO (More Design Office) focuses on harmoniously blending the space into the city. Curved lines and straight lines are implanted into new public areas as much as buildings are arranged in the broader city.
On the basis of the street grid, MDO makes the walls rotated at different angles, thus changing the way how the space lies in the street. From the transparent facade, customers can view the multi-faceted space from many perspectives rather than the vertical point of sight alone.
Seeing comes before words
MDO considers clothes as the reflection of our image. The show window design and how clothes are displayed exactly explain what The Mirror Stage proposed by Lacan is. Customers see themselves in the mirror when they pass the show window. Both the mirrored image and the glass reflection not only add the missing parts but also display existing parts in the space so as to make it complete. This visional reflection also captures customers’ attention to cities, streets, trees, and sunlight, producing interesting people-object interaction. In summary, the multiple reflections of people, objects, cities, and nature result in the interactive relationship between reality and the reflection.
Nonverbal body signals
MDO expects to create a visual literacy shared among females to explore the significance and possibility of individual identity. In this design, the new image is differentiated by the concept of the maze, and the arcs and lines form the different levels. For the flowing space, ivory textural walls and dark floors perfectly separate the functions, building a democratic and artistic space where freedom is accentuated from the order.
The installments of women’s bodily features constitute an abstract spacial form. They capture the subtle gradations of light and shade from dawn to dusk. The natural light beams through the glass and reflects on the ivory textural walls and dark floors. Their simple but penetrating geometric pattern of light and shadow tells a quiet and poetic atmosphere.
A corridor disassembles the grid among the third space and simplifies the traditional retail space. It leads directly to the entrance in which customers walk like models; conversely, those models are also a part of customers. The hard concave-convex dark stone floor gives a totally different feeling from the silky dark carpet – it is a metaphor for women’s origin dual characteristics: firm but soft.
The designers regard the mirror as a critical element to complete the brand philosophy and spatial concept, as it encourages and attracts customers to get closer. When the mirror reflects the interaction between customers and space, between customers and products, and with themselves, the brand attributes are completed.
The curved textural walls are in sharp contrast to the metals on the garment racks and furniture. The check-out areas has the same sculpture-like quality as the white three-dimensional space does. This continuity helps gather customers’ sight to this space without being distracted by the environment, which of course creates ideal conditions for the brand’s special series display.
When designing the VIP rooms and fitting rooms, MDO aims to guide Atelier Miss Lu’s concept store to try fresh sales and business practices. To add more curves and soft-touch feelings, designers install velvet curtains that fold like the curved architectures and deliver more comfort. The larger mirror in the center exudes a highly artistic appeal and creates better private spaces.
In front of the revolving mirrors, customers can have a first look at the whole effect of their try-on and then decide whether to step out of the fitting room. If satisfied, they can walk out and rotate the mirror to make the reflection visible to their mates. Mirroring in different spatial backgrounds and wider depth can cater to customers from more angles.
Currently, the conceptual space, which is intermixed into a sub-culture though, seems to be the best choice for the retail space to build the new image. For this aspect, MDO is committed to discovering the approaches truly bound to the culture of any brand from the chaotic popular rules and analyzing their internal needs and future growth along with our aesthetic system. MDO seeks to measure the space and tell the brand’s emotions with architectural mindsets. Furthermore, MDO interprets the brand’s culture, stimulates sales, and guides business practices with the product and customer experience as the core.
Project Name: Atelier Miss Lu Shanghai Concept Store; Project Location: Shaanxi North Road, Shanghai; Project Area: 134 square meters; Completion Time: June 2022; Design Team: More Design Office; Design Directors: Justin Bridgland, Jaycee Chui; Lead Designers: Yanru Yang; Assistant Designers: Jing Yang, Mengwen Yu; Construction Manager: Bin He; Construction Drawing Providers: Mengling Zhu, Zhiyuan Wang; Photographer: SFAP;