Archstudio has designed a store with the idea of accommodating various activities through different spaces: sales, exhibitions, lounging, and dining. This is within an old edifice located in one of Beijing’s historical hutong neighborhoods. To adapt to other buildings in the vicinity, it replaces its original, flat roof with a pitched structure.
The key concept is to build indoor-outdoor connections by positioning mirrors in such a way that they reflect the yards, creating an infinite field of vision and transforming the architecture into a large ‘garden.’ Three yards are formed for natural light to shine in through, and the green zones are connected to the interiors.
The street-level main entrance leads to a space where exhibition zones alternate with areas where furniture and other products are sold. Most of the walls and the ceiling are coated with mirrors that blur the barriers between what’s real and what’s reflected: furniture pieces, people, objects, plants.
The stairs to the upper floor are framed by a vertical garden on the 6-meter-tall wall. A kitchen and a dining table of terrazzo stand out in this welcoming spot, complemented to the north and south by terraces intended as exteriors to which activities can spill out to.
Down in the basement, the gleaming floor is in itself a lighting fixture, and as such, serves as a display stand for shoes and hats. The mirror solution is used anew to play with persons and garments, which hang from the ceiling. Everywhere, the lighting is based on a smart system that accommodates different kinds of events.