Architecture firm Various Associates has designed J1M5, a multi-brand boutique located in Qingdao, China. The studio conceived J1M5 boutique by taking ‘suitcase’ as the design concept. The team combined the movable, flexible features of a suitcase with the origin of the multi-brand boutique, and at the same time taking full account of spatial layout, circulation, color palette, and experiences, thereby working out unique spatial languages that blend logic with artistry.

 J1M5 Boutique, Qingdao, China / Various Associates

The design well fits into the definition of the multi-brand boutique. Multiple suitcases imply the combination of various brands and form distinctive structural languages in the space. The main goal was to create a spatial construction that’s as movable and flexible as a suitcase so that the overall layout can be adjusted at any time.

 J1M5 Boutique, Qingdao, China / Various Associates

Cabinets are made capable of rotating 360 degrees at horizontal level. Therefore, adjustment of a single structure will lead to the change of the entire space. Each combination of structures is a new presentation of functions and visual effects. The four display cabinets at the entrance can be flexibly arranged, combined and connected. Mirrors at the end of space make customers feel like they’re standing in between lofty buildings, and attract them to immerse and indulge in the orderly yet infinite space.

 J1M5 Boutique, Qingdao, China / Various Associates

Various Associates broke the conventional image of all kinds of stores and created a distinctive retail space for J1M5 based on functional demands and subversive design approaches. The external sides of cabinets are available to hang stainless steel cloth rails, which help maximize the display area; while the interior can be used for storage. In this way, the cabinets realize efficient integration of display and storage functions. Bags, clothes, and shoes can be placed inside cabinets and displayed as a complete set, which is intuitive for customers to choose.

 J1M5 Boutique, Qingdao, China / Various Associates

Cabinets can be combined and shift among different modes according to operational needs of the client. Each cabinet can serve for displaying a single brand, or be used as an independent show window. Arranged in an orderly manner, the columns endow the space with a distinctive character, which attracts customers to step in and wander between the columns (i.e. displayed brand clothes).

 J1M5 Boutique, Qingdao, China / Various Associates

Columns can be moved to the four sides and form an enclosed space at the center. The position of columns can be adjusted to generate different catwalk routes and spatial patterns, so as to meet varying demands for catwalk shows. Columns can be moved to two sides and combined as a matrix. In this way, the usable area of the space is maximized to serve a wide spectrum of events, such as pop-ups and small-scale press conferences of brands.

All other functional areas in the store are distinctive and cater to daily shooting needs. Scenes are everywhere. Details, functionality and materials collide yet integrate with the space. Through constant researches and efforts, Various Associates showcased a unique attitude that considered and interpreted the design based on business format of the space.

 J1M5 Boutique, Qingdao, China / Various Associates

For this project, Various Associates extracted the essence of the business format, shifted design perspectives, and broke the conventional merely-display-oriented thinking mode. The team proposed a new possibility for future brand stores, whilst adopting new perspectives and design approaches to bring substantive innovation to the boutique brand and endow the space with a unique brand identity. Through integrating spatial aesthetics, structures, functionality and personality, Various Associates thoroughly transformed the singular display mode of retail stores, and created a changeable spatial structural system. Based on logical thinking, the complicated functional system and rich details are combined into a whole, generating the power of unified design languages. The overall design realizes the balance between brand, function, space, art and urban life.

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