Shop facade in Shanghai
The flagship store of the ICICLE fashion label opened in Shanghai at the end of 2018. The architects von Gerkan, Marg and Partners (gmp) were commissioned to design the two-story shop facade. The most important design element consists of a curtain of 800 porcelain tubes made in the traditional Chinese way.
The ICICLE flagship store, for which gmp designed the shop facade in 2018, is located in the Shimao shopping center at Nanjing East Road—a fashionable location in Shanghai, particularly for international brands and luxury labels. The store has a total floor area of 600 square meters arranged over two stories. The upper floor accommodates the ICICLE Space: this is where, in addition to men’s and women’s fashion, Italian furniture and Japanese ceramics are sold. Furthermore, there is a café and a bookshop. The interior consists mainly of wood and other natural materials—in line with the ICICLE company philosophy, “Made in Earth”.
A special feature of the shop facade is its clear structure. The frame and structure have been kept to a minimum and, similar to the typical ICICLE styling, can be seen as an understatement. The overall concept underlying the facade design focuses on reduction, transparency, and uniformity of materials. Above the entrance area is a curtain of 800 hand-made white porcelain tubes reaching all the way to the upper floor. The architects have chosen ceramics, a natural material, as the main element that forms a contrast to the dark gray metal profiles of the shop window front. The gaps in the curtain allow views from the ICICLE Space to the city and vice versa. The porcelain tubes were produced by the Chinese ceramics manufacturer, Spin. They are manually produced using traditional methods in Jingdezhen, the center of Chinese porcelain manufacture since the Ming Dynasty. The tubes consist of pure white porcelain with a satin glaze, which is applied by hand. Slight irregularities in the shape of the tubes and in the glaze emphasize the hand-made nature of this facade element. The black ICICLE logo has been placed centrally above the entrance area.
The loadbearing structure of the facade consists of a steel frame, which is self-supporting and has been placed in front of the shell construction of the building. The anthracite-colored metal cladding of the frame conceals the loadbearing structure, which made it possible to glaze the entire area of the shop front. The six triple-laminated glass panes are 50 mm thick and 5.4 meters high; they absorb loads from the steel frame and the steel cable suspension.
For some time, gmp and ICICLE have been involved in an unusual cooperation. A 2017/2018 collection by the Shanghai-based fashion house was inspired by the architecture of gmp. Based on that cooperation, the shared exhibition “architecture x fashion, gmp x ICICLE, a dialog” was created, which will be coming to Germany on the occasion of the “20 Years of gmp in China” anniversary, and will be shown in Barlach Hall K as part of the Hamburg Architecture Summer from June 29, 2019.