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For decades, Guangzhou has been the epicentre of China‘s sizeable textile industry, and this stature has obviously rubbed off on the already booming Pearl River Delta as a whole. Needless to say, the entire region is a hotbed for textile businesses, and interestingly, a new generation of brands is stepping into the limelight in various ways. MASONPRINCE is a fashion label founded in 2014 in nearby Shenzhen by Gen Z entrepreneurs and siblings Qiusen, Qiumu and Qiulin Zhou. From the very start, the brand has been selling its coveted wares exclusively online, but a little while ago, it has shifted gear and raised its profile by launching its very first brick-and-mortar store in the fashionable Dongshankou neighbourhood of Guangzhou. Knowing you only have one chance to make an indelible impression, the young entrepreneurial trio ambitiously secured an early 1930s mansion and tweaked the premises with a little help from Shenzhen-based architecture and design practice TOMO. The aesthetic of the MASONPRINCE brand is quirky hodgepodge of vintage, retro and futuristic, covering just about the entire eclectic palate of today’s youth.

Consequently, the store needed to ooze an atmosphere that blurs the boundaries of time and resonate with the target demographic’s highly volatile sensibilities. In practice, the various settings reference the past while also offering hint of the future at the same time, fusing the building’s original shell with a series of modern interventions. The design concept is instantly evident when passing the traditional Chinese gate adorned by a metal crossbar and retractable green-gradient glass panels which collectively spell out the brand name. The courtyard, paved with terracotta tiles and metal strips, is adorned with large MASONPRINCE campaign photographs presented in the form of a bus station ads and symbolically unveils the core narrative of the store’s time travel concept, marking the very beginning of a shopping journey that transcends the present. Upon entering the store, shoppers experience the timeline reversing from the present to the future and are greeted by a superhuman character known as MP.01.

The setting sees bare walls overlaid by metal strips and the ceiling with a metal grid of light fixtures stretching all the way to the back. The office-inspired furnishings have a Mid-century modern edge, and merely comprise a desk, with vintage typewriter and desk lamp, and an elongated wooden display cabinet with metal drawers. The fitting room and the accessory room are envisioned as an elevator and elevator hall, and adding to the fantastical design, the bathroom is designed as filing cabinets in the time archive room. The staircase, marking a leap in time and space, is in between one rustic wall and one shiny wall, implying the dialogue between the past and present in the next journey. The distressed tabletop is finely polished and the retro wooden wardrobe displays accessories. A formal office accommodates a bathtub—indeed, why not? Upstairs, the time theme continues with additional office-inspired settings and props, including first-generation vintage computers and telephones. The new MASONPRINCE store carries the brand’s full range of men’s and women’s apparel, accessories and shoes.

Designed by TOMO
Images © TOMO
Photography: Free Will Photography


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