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“Despite your coldness your beauty scatters its wonders across the years.” Quoted from the poetry written by the Argentine Jorge Luis Borges – the cycles and intervals of time and space, the transition between fantasy and existence. Within all the acts and dreams, we are just human beings but with no limitation to our strong belief, as per Atelier Intimo’s story behind their latest Year 2020 product range.

In year 2020, the unprecedented epidemic and various natural crisis had brought a lot of new insights for many of us. Atelier Intimo’s first Flagship, designed by O&O STUDIO, is located on one of the busiest retail streets in Shanghai – Huai Hai Road. O&O took a bold step, led and created a new and extraordinary retail space for the lingerie brand. Taking inspiration from the epidemic, both the Flagship and Atelier Intimo’s new product range are built upon the concept of “Rebirth of the Scorched Earth”, with the view of integrating the nature’s healing power to influence and give new hope to human beings. O&O Studio wanted to craft a dramatic space that brought in and allowed visitors to spend a moment to look up, imagine and fantasize in such time and space on the prosperous spot. “Is there anything that we have forgotten about?”

Located on No.841 on Huai Hai Road, the flagship store occupies a 180sqm two floors unit at Renmin Fang. With the aim to avoid unnecessary demolition or construction work while providing a more efficient layout, the slab opening is retained with the existing stair structure that turned from a “L” shape to an “U” shape configuration. Thus the retail zones are maximised at the front end with the back of house effectively grouped together at the rear.

Atelier Intimo Flagship is not a typical retail store. It is a performing stage designed for the brand. The entrance enclosed with gold platted khaki stainless steel covering inspired by the “Rebirth of the Scorched Earth” concept, thus giving a hint and stimulation to every visitor that, this is an unusual retail store that one must go in and experience.

The central axis defines the retail zones onto two sides. On one side are 8 hanging mannequins with adjustable hanging heights and the flexibility of exchanging mannequin types. On the other side is a series of custom-designed product display units that integrates various displaying heights and mannequin figures, with the same stainless steel finishes that unifies the shopfront and changing room wall outer finishes, creating a backdrop of the “Scorched Earth”.

The ground floor is also delineated by custom-made circular carpets with nature prints that firstly create a natural circulation flow, and secondly several minimally designed display islands sit on top that integrates with a selection of natural stones including Septarium, Quartz and Taishan stone, implying the birth of new life. The two changing rooms in different sizes located right under the staircase extend the curvature of the nature islands.

Considering on the functional side and bringing the visitors a complete journey, the cashier is placed on the upper level such to maximise the customer flow between two floors. On the opposite side is an installation display unit that explores the form of a tree crown with an architectural interpretation. The final product is a spiral stepping device that can be revolved manually for displaying series of mannequin in different styles and sizes.

Towards the front end is a VIP space that is zoned on top of an elevated platform. This can be enclosed with the help of a long electrical curtain providing total privacy, where the space will turn into a true VIP space for lingerie trials and private parties. Or it can be fully opened and make the floor as a platform for new product launching events, parties, live streaming etc.

Mannequin is the most common medium to display textile products. O&O STUDIO took the challenge to integrate mannequins and the design concept of “Rebirth of the Scorched Earth”, and developed a series of art installations that fully present the performing stage for the brand. The series has 6 individual installations, blending various mode of mannequins to achieve different conceptions, such as the key leader of the stage who wears a set of revolving wings, appear to be dancing at the central stage.

Scattering around are several installations inspired by flower blossom infused with interior architectural elements. Making use of different mannequin parts at the opening flower buds, they carry the nature energy and glorify their beauties. These installations are designed with a slightly peculiar and unexpected manner for one’s imagination and self-interpretation on what these quirky archetypes are portraying.

Atelier Intimo invited 15 female customers and 1 female staff to have their unique breast shapes scanned by 3D scanner. They are then 3D-printed as 16 half-body mannequins wearing different sizes and styles of bras by Atelier Intimo. This is one of the important elements that the Client use to display and promote their design philosophy on how flexible their products can be to fit and suit any female, any breast shapes and any sizes.

The design solution that O&O collaborated was to make use of 16 circular features, each holding one half -body mannequin placed along the wall that span between the ground and first floor. Each circular feature has the same depth but rotating layers to subtly distinguish the mannequins while informing a consistent design philosophy.

Atelier Intimo has already gained a good level of popularity in the past few years with specific design philosophy and retail strategy. O&O Studio sees this as a fascinating challenge and opportunity to design Atelier Intimo’s first flagship, serving as the brand’s new “springboard” to achieve further success, presenting the new “Morphology of Atelier Intimo”. Since the opening of the flagship, it has proved how well that the dramatic and theatrical space has integrated and harmonized with the Client’s brand and products. For Atelier Intimo, the flagship is a point where they face directly to their valuable customers, a space for their new products launch, a studio for modelling and photography, a base for live streaming etc. All these are well beyond what the Client could imagine beforehand. The success of the flagship also sealed the strong belief of O&O Studio’s design philosophy. While the design brings in a new and distinctive portrait for the Client, O&O Studio also brings in additional design and commercial value to the Client’s business.

Design: O&O STUDIO
Chief Designer: Eric Chan, Suzanne Li, Katt Chung Yap
Photographer: Tian Fang Fang, Katt Chung Yap

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