Attracting foot traffic isn’t the point of the multi-brand retailer’s physical post – Little H uses the Daylab ‘office store’ as an extension of its e-commerce platform instead.
31 floors up an office building in Beijing lies a most unexpected space: a physical post of multi-brand luxury retailer Little H. It may be an unconventional location, but the store plays an unconventional role. Rather than being designed to draw crowds in, select customers are meant to seek Little H out themselves: the space is based on the brand’s e-commerce platform, serving as a place for display, online webcasting and hosting small groups – not for purchasing apparel and accessories.
Shanghai-headquartered design team Daylab explains that they began by finding out the root of the difference between Little H and traditional stores; the project became an attempt to answer what form retail spaces should take on amidst the e-commerce and mobile technology revolution. Capitalizing on the new typology – which the designers refer to as the ‘office store’ – they had freedom to experiment. As customer flow and product transparency were not concerns as is customary, Daylab was instead able to divide the layout up and create individual scenes.
Each space – areas for showcase and vlog production in addition to an afternoon tea room and private studio – takes on a certain theme. The colourful, contrasting walls of the interior are cut by curved openings, which create vignettes of the surrounding rooms. Sleek metallic display furniture is paired with soft elements, including expansive curtains, graphic rugs and velvet upholstery.
The office store is a typology to watch, especially as the pandemic has quickened the downfall of the traditional bricks-and-mortar model. ‘Office stores’ like Little H may set a helpful precedent for those companies looking to retain their physical presence while adapting to the current, ever-evolving circumstances – and demands – in retail.