Beijing, China, 2021
Asked to design a store in a theme park and looking at its context, we could not avoid asking ourselves how to go about this. How can we create a unique experience in a place where experience is king? Do we go with the current or swim upstream? Do we try to stand out or blend in?
We decided to do both.
Inspired by the thrills and experience of a studio soundstage and set but remaining true to the warehouse-style retail culture of HARMAY, we created a store that combines the best of both worlds.
By channelling the power of light, shadow, and the visual impact of cinema, we created a uniquely immersive experience while reflecting the innovation and diversity of the brand.
The first encounter is the façade, bold but introverted. It stirs up curiosity through its simplicity, in sharp contrast with its surroundings. Densely paved aluminum panels form a big silver screen dedicated to HARMAY.
Walking through the cinema doors, you enter the foyer, a space wrapped with thick metal curtains and a grand central oval service desk reminiscent of the lobby of traditional theatres. In this place, all the excitement of the movie experience starts.
Passing through the curtain to the “backstage” area leads to the main retail space. You’ll find all the signs of a star-powered production at the centre: equipment, lighting, cameras, and TV screens, surrounded by custom-made shelves, inspired by the woodwork of an old-fashioned stage. It lends an intimate, VIP feeling, a backstage pass to shop.
The illuminated backboard lights up to display products and create an overall glow in the space, expressing the variability of the warehouse’s retail culture through the play of light and shadow.
By combining the romance of film with the tactile experience of retail, Universal Studios promises its guests an elevated and immersive experience. In this store, each visitor has a starring role.
Location: Beijing, China
GFA: 100 sqm
Design Scope: Facade and interior design
Design Principals: Wendy Saunders, Vincent de Graaf
Project Manager: Cindy Xu
Project Architect: Simon Huang
Interior Team: Dongkai Hu, Jiao Yan, Shawn Zhang
FFE Team: Dongkai Hu
Photography: Wen Studio