McIntosh Labs store by PplusP Designers, Shanghai

March 28th, 2014 by retail design blog

With a rapidly growing middle to upper class in China, Shanghai has definitely kept up with the demand of luxury goods. Among the countless stores targeted at this group of consumers, McIntosh Labs recently opened in the prestigious Plaza 66, alongside the likes of Hermès, Cartier, Bvalgari and the world’s largest Louis Vuitton store.

Tasked with the audio system and hi-fi brand’s store interiors was Hong Kong-based PplusP Designers. Since their machines are for an exclusive, high-end market, the materials used for the interiors have to align with their products. Black stainless steel represents the feeling of boldness and mechanism. Marble floors are incorporated at the entrance to enhance the feeling of luxury. The store’s door handles take inspiration from McIntosh’s signature machine, offering a clear brand identity upon entrance.

As sound performance is much higher with softer materials, wood is used further inside to meet technical needs. The client explained that great sound needed to have hard materials for reflection and soft elements for absorption.

Passersby will not miss what Liu calls the store’s ‘time tree’, a striking spiral feature with years imprinted at different levels to signify the company’s milestones. Lead interior designer Wesley Liu created this spiral feature in order to hide the pillar as well as to create an eye-catching feature for the shop front to attract customers. It is carefully divided into proportion and features the significant years of achievement.

The loose display units come in two forms – one is inspired by the oversized scroll button on the McIntosh machine; the other is representative of a typical hi-fi needle, which is a long Corian unit with crystal glass top. There are two theatres – a main theatre and a mini theatre. The main theatre features McIntosh Labs’ signature and most expansive 2K sound system, while the mini theatre displays a sleek home theatre system. Compared to the main theatre, the mini theatre is more flexible and open.

LED reflector lights are used instead of traditional halogen lamps to enhance the feeling of comfort. To represent the ripples and spirals of sound waves, PplusP Designers used Thomas Heatherwick’s Spun chair in the open sales area and Herman Miller’s Eames chair in the main theatre. Additionally, the Spun chair was used to harmonize the sales area’s bold surroundings. When clients sit on the chair to try out sound quality, they can also have fun by swinging on it.

Situated in Shanghai’s Jing’an district, McIntosh Labs occupies 1,600 sq-ft inside one of the city’s most prestigious shopping malls, Plaza 66. With numerous luxury brands as neighbours, PplusP Designers was to conceive interiors that fit its location as well as its brand identity as a leader in high performance audio. The result is a bold and seamless look that is tastefully eye-catching without being garish.

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