Serene white curves and directed perspective combine with a splash of vivid colour in this Shanghai eyewear store by Linehouse Design. Rik Glauert reports.
N3ON’s new store is a perspective playground. Angled panels manipulate the depth of field, mirrored walls create endless reflections, and concave and convex shapes trick the eye.
The 355-square-foot store is the work of Shanghai-based design firm Linehouse, which was tasked with creating a space for N3ON—a new retail concept by high-end eyewear brand Coterie that’s aimed at a younger, funkier customer—on Shanghai’s Hongqiao Road.
Linehouse took inspiration from the ocular for the space. “We thought about how we see and perceive things. We drew inspiration from the convex and concave nature of both the eye and the lens of glasses,” says Alex Mok, a Founder and Director at Linehouse.
A series of white panels with concave cut-outs flanks the sides of the store, jutting inwards at angles that make the length of the store hard to gauge. Mok and her team also worked with gradient to create interesting visual effects: the panels are perforated with circular holes that dissipate vertically.
Mirrored walls and the recurring curves make the store playfully intimate. “From the visitor’s point of view, it’s a very clean, comforting, serene space,” says Mok.
Punctuating the pervading white of these shapes are jolts of hot pink: set within a pink box covered with laser-cut pink acrylic is a series of fluorescent lights that make up the cashier desk at the far end of the store.
Part of N3ON’s design brief was that the space should be flexible and able to showcase the brand’s different collections in different formats. To achieve this, Linehouse created adjustable thin metal shelves, which are suspended from rods within the angled panel’s curves. These allow for any number of display configurations.
Linehouse also created four freestanding structures to display glasses in – these can be placed in front of the mirrored walls. That same hot-pink hue returns here; the shelves are suspended from metal rods in the store’s signature colour.
Creating the flexibility N3ON wanted was one of Mok’s greatest headaches during the project’s construction phase. “We had to work very closely with the contractors to explain that all these elements needed to be changeable, and we did a full mock up of the panels off-site, so we would be sure of how they would work,” she says.
The design is a slight departure from the previous structural, skeletal designs the studio has favoured in the past. “This project is very spacial and it’s really about a unique experience for the user,” says Mok, who is Chinese-Swedish, and who established the studio in 2013 Briar Hickling from New Zealand. This store is the first of three Linehouse is creating for N3ON. The remaining two will be opening across China in the coming months.
The first N3ON store is located at Level 3, Grand Gateway, 1 Hong Qiao Road, Shanghai. All images by Dirk Weiblen. Design by Linehouse in collaboration with Tony Schonhardt.