In the heart of Shanghai, local architecture X+Living has designed the new global flagship store for POP MART, a leading Chinese pop culture and entertainment company. The designer deconstructed the brand’s culture and pop products and incorporated the most current new elements of digital media to create a brand flagship store full of futuristic and technological sense.
The project is located at the busy crossroad of Nanjing East Road, The designer took advantage of the unique opportunity for display and created a giant storefront of four floors high. Brand logo and product elements are exacted to design a simple yet fantastic and impactful decorative façade, which radiates the brand’s unique identity to the whole block, and creates a landmark pop toy culture experience center.
A gradient pearly white facade appears on the street scene. The designer uses color and planet as design inspirations of the space. The futuristic facade is like the boundary between two different time and space, dividing the external real world from the internal fantasy world. The giant eye-catching pop toy IP above the façade conveys a sense of mystery under the gradient lighting, forming a splendid street scene, like a standing milestone in the new world.
Stepping into the first-floor retail area, the ceiling, floor and walls are suffused with colours, which dissolve at the end of the line of sight, blossoming into another kind of bright and magnificent scenery, as if different spaces growing naturally and nesting together.
X+Living used colors to promote individuality, strengthen the pop toy products with distinctive attitudes and echo the brand tone of advocating youthfulness. Colored acrylic materials are used both on the regular square display cabinets and the special-shaped display racks. The designer’s extreme dedication from the use of color to the customization process of the shapes successfully achieved a delicate and transparent glass-like texture, showing the brand’s sense of fashion trend and breaking the limited field of view between display partitions.
The designer utilizes color, material, light and shadow to create an ambient field of mingled colors, making it as if free from gravity and floating in a dreamy illusion.
Inspired by one of POP MART’s most signature series Space Molly, the designer has turned the staircase to the second floor into a functional area that combines the triple attributes of transportation, aesthetics and exhibition, depicting a futuristic and pioneering space journey. The exploration of space is also like the opening up of a new world, an exciting journey with a reverence for novelty and the unknow.
The silver color invades the view forcefully and irresistibly, and the complicated mechanical components constitute the skin texture of space. The designer gives a new identity to the brand’s iconic IP character Molly, who takes the form of a space traveler and arrives at a secret planet in the universe that no one has ever visited. The futuristic technological mechanical rods, developing as in the ecological arrangement like plant growing, presenting a hypothetical new world of the future, deepening the dramatic tension of the spatial narrative.
The designer, with precise composition design and the craftsman spirit in details design, creates a naturally growing planet like scenery. The overall space construction is built up with sophisticated techniques. Components as small as 1 cm and as large as 3 meters are tightly assembled together under precise calculations.
The space is scattered with a number of large metal spheres embedded with electronic screens, which present information about trendy toys and act as the control heart of this silver mechanical star, directing the conveyor belt on the ceiling to deliver products in an orderly manner. The designer has placed arched metal displays in the space, spreading to the ceiling in rows to create a sense of order, while the arc-shaped shelves on the floor are filled with toys and other merchandise, linking customers’ paths of exploration. Spherical display boxes are hung from the ceiling in a chain, and the mirror reflects the light, creating a place of mechanical architecture and novelty.
In order to achieve the exquisite details of complex components, part of the structure is also made using 3D printing technology. Facing the ultimate challenge of the unprecedented large-scale application of 3D printing technology in project construction, designers must not only strictly control the texture and refinement of the components, but also overcome the challenge in the assembly of 3D printing components and other materials and equipments such as wood, LED screen, light troughs, and acrylic.
In order to turn the POPMART planet from imagination to reality, the challenges are broken through one after another. The integration of cutting-edge technology alludes to the concept of the new world, and the bold and innovative use of the design field also coincides with the brand’s ambition to open up a new world of pop toys and entertainment for young generations.
Multi-media expressions are skillfully implanted in the space by the designer, and the changing lighting adds to the richness of the space. The bold application and integration of materials, textures, lighting and colors and the involvement of 3D printing technology and dynamic display system have not only broken through the conventional display methods, but also achieved a dimension-breaking construction of retail space design in the digital age. The creation of a “secret planet” maps out future digital poetry, interprets the evolution of space in the information age. The differentiation of the upper and downstairs space creates a contrasting and complementary effect, to illustrate the brand proposition “to light up passion and bring joy “.