Located in Beijing and Shanghai, Italian designer Gabriele Colangelo recently opened his first flagship stores, which offer an art gallery inspired retail experience.
The designer worked with Los Angeles-based firm Montalba Architects and their office located in Lausanne, Switzerland. At the center of the design, a ceiling ring delimitates the space and influences the directional movement in which customers experience the collection. Lighting incorporated into the sculptural ring illuminates the lounge-like area and creates an understated pathway below similar to that of a runway show. The ring also provides quality air ventilation and has varying levels of illumination throughout the day. The flexibility of the ring opposes the clear protocol assigned to the rest of the store where there is an accurate position for each element. Mineral panels made by CNC technique line each of the store walls providing wave-like surroundings in both spaces and furthering the gallery like experience.
The paneled walls, which mimic the look of curtains, are layered with custom Douglas Fir wood fixtures with brass elements on which limited garments are displayed. Concrete pedestals show small accessories, while suspended mannequins create a mobile like, minimal storefront display. Large mirrors further reflect the performance of the stores and emphasize the collection while masking the fitting rooms, point of sale and back of house.
Throughout, muted materials, like the Venetian terrazzo flooring and carpet inlay, were chosen so as not to overpower the collection, yet also be complimentary to its architectural elements. Overall, the projects’ design is inspired by Gabriele Colangelo's collections and the way in which the designer uses and works with different fabrics. The conceptual design creates a minimalist, yet intimate experience that offers an open invitation to interact with the refreshing garments. In these stores, the typical retail experience is forgotten, giving way to more of a focus on the artistry and environment of the spaces rather than an influx of product and branding.
1. Facade cladding: CNC customized MDF full height panels
2. Flooring: Venetian terrazzo
3. Doors: MDF full height flush doors with brass handles and hinges
4. Interior lighting: IGUZZINI
5. CHAIRS: Bardi’s bowl chair, Arper; Nomad chair, Norr11; 45 Chair, House of Finn Juhl
6. TABLE: Bell Coffee table, ClassiCon
7. LAMPS: Luna Verticale, Tato, Luna orizzontale, Tato
8. STOOL: Stool, model A - Charles & Ray Eames, Vitra