Shanghai, China – 2014

A basement garage transformed into a retail showroom with customizable spaces that offer inventive and efficient ways to reveal product.

Hafele is a global leader in furniture fittings and architectural hardware. Their products are complex, and very diverse. We were tapped to transform a basement garage space into a showroom for both the brand and the many diverse products they make.

Located beneath their Shanghai office, the space has a huge skylight which perfectly marked a natural entrance for the showroom. This place, now indicated by an 8-meter tall glass tower, is a warm welcome for the customer. A white steel staircase leads down to the showroom itself, and connects to a roof terrace above the offices.

The show room functions as a treasure box of sorts – what is seen and what remains yet to be discovered relies on the sales selection and sequence.

Simplicity was important to us. The staircase – a bold, bright element – ends on a podium that overlooks an empty space. Simple, yes, and also surprising – little indication is given here of the exploration that awaits beyond the grey wood paneled walls.

A showroom is a space essentially for guests – a place where people can comfortably interact with products and ideas. We designed the interior with this in mind – the color palate is simple and distinct, and our choices reflected a commitment to a curated experience. This choice gave control to the client, creating a calm, seemingly empty space that shows itself slowly, with elegance and discretion.

Behind the different door systems are several, diverse hidden spaces: a 35m2 apartment, a 150m2 apartment, a hotel room, a VIP office, a bathroom, and technical areas – all uniquely designed to reveal the vast, eclectic product range of Hafele.

The ability to control when certain spaces are visible and what products are highlighted makes the experience all the more surprising. Over the last decade of design in China, this has become a hallmark of AIM philosophy: some things in design are hidden, yes, but never in hiding.

Client: HAFELE Hardware
Technology (China) Co.,Ltd.
Size: 1000 sqm
Completion: 2014
Design scope: architecture and interior
Design team: Wendy Saunders, Vincent de Graaf, Alejandro Felipe, German Roig, Nancy Deng, Weizhong Wang, Toni Pavic.
Photography: Dirk Weiblen

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