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Millennial Lifestyles And City Settings Drove Kokaistudios’ Design For Assemble By Réel

Kokaistudios looked to the city and the style-inspired passions of its millennial demographic to design a large yet dynamic retail space for a men’s fashion brand in Shanghai.



BY Rik Glauert

July 16th, 2019


Kokaistudios were tasked with designing a 1,000-square-metre concept store for luxury menswear brand Assemble by Réel in downtown Shanghai. And the store was to be as dynamic and trendy as the metropolis itself.

The vast shop floor transforms archetypal city sites – including galleries, churches and parks – into a customer experience taking in four different styles appealing to the city’s fashion-conscious millennials. 

“On a functional level, compartmentalising the otherwise expansive space creates carefully constructed circulation, with the store’s layout designed to take shoppers on a journey of discovery both literal and figurative,” say Kokaistudios. “With anchors and waypoints that speak to the metropolis itself, Assemble by Réel abstracts and condenses cities, celebrating the myriad lifestyles they harbour.”

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“Assemble by Réel abstracts and condenses cities, celebrating the myriad lifestyles they harbour.”

– Kokaistudios

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The single-storey semi-open-plan space is situated on the third floor of a high-end shopping mall on Shanghai’s renowned shopping street Nanjing Road. Visitors are welcomed by a series of dramatic arches creating a majestic colonnade evoking a church. The angled partitions, in wood and a finish resembling classical travertine plaster, give interrupted views into the store and the fashion pieces on offer. Soft, diffused electric and natural light from the floor-to-ceiling windows also evoke an ecclesiastical atmosphere.

From here, Kokaistudios’ layout guides shoppers to an airy tranquil park-themed space. Tree-like cylindrical forms and wooden display units extend the green landscape of the park scene from the floor-to-ceiling windows into the store.

Assemble_Kokaistudios_zone-1-lounge-area

In the centre of the space is what the designers refer to as a ‘conversation pit’. The circular seating area acts as a place to rest and relax, and takes inspiration from a classic park bandstand or pavilion. The neutral tones of terrazzo, pale wood and grey leather give the store’s fashion lines space to stand out.

Assemble_Kokaistudios_zone-2-conversation-pit

The next area, the ‘skate park’, was inspired by Shanghai’s urban setting. Products and seating areas are positioned around terraced terrazzo steps while sloped roofs playfully evoke the ramps of a skate park. The amphitheatre arrangement lets Assemble by Réel display its street wear and shoes collection in an unconventional, eye-catching fashion. It also provides a space for events.  

Assemble_Kokaistudios_zone-3-skating-ramp-inspired-installation

The final area was inspired by a gallery and doubles up as the second entrance to the store. Exhibit-like displays of the store’s iconic lifestyle accessories extend out into the mall’s corridors. The bright-white exhibition cases feature translucent partitions and perforated cubes to display wares – teasing customers as to what is on offer.

Assemble_Kokaistudios_zone-4-window-display

Photography by Dirk Weiblen (courtesy of Kokaistudios).

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Assemble by Réel

Floor area: 1,037sqm
Client: Réel
Interior Design: Kokaistudios
Chief Designers: Filippo Gabbiani, Andrea Destefanis
Project Managers: Ian Yu, Chang Qing
Design Team: Alex Jiang, Rebecca Huang, Samo Xu