When I started this retail project there was a simple and appealing idea of hanging everything from the ceiling – thus moving out of the way the furniture and items to be sold so that all the floor space could be free for customers to circulate. So using a software that simulates the physics of real materials, we imagined an elastic ceiling that was pulled down by the weight of these various objects. The next step was to think about the technical equipment necessary for the store such as lighting, speakers, sprinklers, cameras, AC and ventilation so it was natural to think of this ceiling as a permeable surface. This was the origin of the ethereal white ceiling; an ephemeral support for ephemeral objects.
We provided the factory with a file of more than 10,000 different shapes of stripes to hang on the ceiling and thank goodness each piece was not hand crafted by the Chinese workers but was precision cut by machines in a super short time. We used a very thin white translucent fiberglass material because of its fire resistance and the good way it reacted to light reflection thus creating a ceiling landscape that would be a spectacular source of light, beauty and emptiness; perfect for every fashion victim.
Although the store is not very big the extension of the ceiling landscape is apparently endless thanks to mirror walls that disorient the visitors walking around these ethereal ceiling cavities.
This heavenly ceiling is surely the protagonist of the space; we chose recycled timber as a dark background for the floor and walls to make the ceiling emerge from the general environment. Finally we designed simple cubical volumes covered with soft grey felt as the only furniture which the shop could use as sofas, cash desk and product displayers.
The store façade is left transparent simply showing the striped section of the ceiling volume thus creating a sculptural attraction for the visitors to the Chongqing World Financial Center.