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Fuelled by large sums of money of Chinese investors, Manila‘s Bay Area is rapidly transforming, and with more than 20 proposed projects, it’s all happening at an accelerated pace. Interestingly, each project involves land reclamation, and given the aim to accommodate floods of gamblers from mainland China, many a casino has been erected. The swanky Solaire is one of many complexes which have popped up along the Philippine capital’s coastline in recent years to accommodate this cashed-up foreign demographic, and it has cleverly complemented its hospitality concept with an additional range of upscale boutiques. Called The Shoppes at Solaire, the mall has become the Bay Area’s fav shopping destination of visitors and locals alike, luring the likes of top luxury brands to its premises, and it’s right here where influential local company H & F Retail Concepts has opened its newest outpost.

Since 1995 the company has introduced a wide range of brands from fashion’s upper echelon to Manila’s most-discerning palates, spawning a sizeable network of multi-brand boutiques and flagship stores across town. The latest boutique opening concerns UNIVERS, a multi-brand concept which first emerged a few years ago at One Rockwell, an upscale mixed-use complex across town. The second store occupies a lofty 187 sqm. (2,013 sq.ft.) unit, and sees a renewed collab with acclaimed architect Eduardo Calma. Slabs of polished black and white marble covers the floor and extends almost halfway up the walls where it’s met by suspended backlit panels. The ceiling comprises of a seemingly carved-out mosaic of planes, embedding rows spotlights in its ridges.

Sleek metal clothing racks dangle from the ceiling in the middle of the UNIVERS store, and are paired with additional clothing racks and shelving lining the wall. The back wall is clad in mirrors which optically enlarge the store, and features built-in shelving. Additionally, chunky marble displays dot the premises, and the cozy seating area which enables shoppers to sit back and ponder over the next trophy purchase, also features matching side tables. Known to be well-curated, the men’s and unisex offerings of the newest UNIVERS store comprise of a mix of some of today’s leading fashion and lifestyle brands, including Off-White, Astier de Villette, Thom Browne, PLAY Comme des Garçons, Head Porter and Valentino.

Designed by Eduardo Calma
Images © H & F Retail Concepts
Photography: Frank Callaghan


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