This Fashion Boutique Doubles as a Playground

A Tokyo-based architecture firm has transformed a fashion store into a fun-filled space

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In China’s fashion capital of Shanghai, parks and childhood playgrounds are at the heart of a new store design. Designed by the founders of Kooo Architects Ayaka and Shinya Kojima, who previously worked under Kengo Kuma, the store is for Chinese brand ZUCZUG and is a light- and fun-filled space. 

The design team wanted to create a space where children, and adults, of all ages could relax and play freely. The community-building aspect of parks and their playground facilities inspired the design, and the team created an open and welcoming ambience in a slightly messy and unconventional store design and layout. 

Elements of playfulness and fun feature throughout the store, and playground equipment such as seesaws, high-low bars and monkey bars are given a retail twist. A series of suspended light fixtures evokes monkey bars, while clothes racks at various heights use acrylic and transparency to create an illusion of floating bars. A dome climber inspired an immersive clothing display, spring rocking chairs are used as display platforms, and a Rock ’n Cross toy inspired an arc-shaped, adjustable clothes pole. Drinks and ice cream trollies commonly found in parks inspired a portable and adaptable display cabinet with hanging space.

The store needed to showcase products from a wide range of brands, as well as offer space for events such as exhibitions, cultural talks and pop-up markets. These are held at the front of the store, while the back of the store remains the main shopping space. As the store is not on ground level, shoppers enter a deep foyer first and the store then appears almost hidden in a backyard. To lighten the previously dark space, the designers removed non-load bearing walls along the exterior and used glass throughout to capitalise on the natural light. The door frame was altered to make the store more open and inviting, and a large portable blank canvas was used to hide the bicycle parking, which can be used for future creative works. This openness and adaptability has created a retail playground that embraces the joy of fashion.  

Text / Babette Radclyffe-Thomas
Images / Horikoshi Keishin (kooo architects) and Weiqiu Lin

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