LEA BUYER’S SHOP 2021

Project site: Changshu, Suzhou
Time of design: 2021
Time of completion: 2021
Project scale: 262㎡
Project client: LEA Buyer’s Shop
Client aesthetic consultant: Cui Wei
Design team: Di Shaohua, Ni Shiyuan, Yang Jialin

LEA Buyer’s shop is located in Changshu, Jiangsu province, the previous so called “world factory” of fashion industry. Along with the government’s environmental regulations, increased labor costs and relocation of the manufacture to outside of China, Changshu’s fashion industry is transitioning from manufacture to fashion business. PRAXiS d’ ARCHITECTURE is facing a challenge of renovating a space located in a typical residential neighbourhood in Changshu into a shop with distinctive features to draw visitors from a commercial street not far away.

The owner of the shop is a couple who intended to represent some domestic emerging fashion designers. The existing space is 193 ㎡ with a net height of 4.7m underneath the concrete beams. Besides open display area, a private office/VIP space is required.

A reversed pyramid is inserted  into the existing rectangular box to hide the existing column in the middle of the space. Inside the pyramid is the office/VIP mezzanine and outside is the open shop. The shop area is thus maximized while leaving the mezzanine fairly sizable. Walking around the shop, the pyramid solid constantly denies a visual clue,  and a visitor’s spatial experience becomes one of discovery.

The mezzanine is connected to the VIP lounge at the same level across the bridge. The space can be used multi-functionally as an office, a shop room and even a storage. The facade outside on the same level is applied with metal panels and lighting details, revealing a visual clue of the mezzanine space hidden behind.

The connection between the ground floor and the mezzanine is implicit, which can be experienced in two circumstances. One is through a bridge linking the stair and the mezzanine entrance, and the other through a vertical periscope tunnel. These two attentively situated connectors generate a sense of a place that facilitates unexpected encounter among visitors. Under the age of online-business, the design sought a physical space of incidence and serendipity.

The linear glass window on the ground level is kept at 1.5m from floor to the top. This glass height, although disturbingly right at the average eye level of most visitors, arouses a sense of expectation and discovery for people outside the shop. Inside the shop, the lounge near the window allows people to sit where they could fully see through and be seen from the outside.

The materials used for the shop are simple and economical, including dark gray cement flooring, white painted walls, stainless steel panels for the bridge, periscope and facade for the outside. Movable display stands are with reflective stainless steel finish. Warm light is chosen for the cashier and a few corner spaces where people are likely to meet and communicate. White light is chosen for the display area to show products’ original colors.