Cabana Shanghai Anfu Store Cabana上海安福路店
In the Cabana Store on Anfu Road in Shanghai, for the first time, we literally recreated a “cabana” (cabin).
The stairwell is entirely wrapped in wood veneer. On the ground floor, the wooden structure is inserted horizontally into the display area, interrupting the continuity from the entrance to the depth, forming a richly layered foyer space. On the second floor, the wooden structure extends into a corridor and the cashier area at its end, separating the display space from the middle, dividing it into two areas with entirely different characters. This “cabin structure”, which connects the upper and lower floors, appears to be a cubist sculpture placed vertically in the space, with light shining into the structure from every angle. The smoked oak was chosen for its texture and color are the closest to our imagination of a cabin by the sea; while the flooring made of thin strips of wood and the seams on the wood veneer are also an imitation of the raw materials commonly used in such cabins.
The specific form of “cabin” embodies our reflections on “decoration” as a design approach. Since modernism, after a series of re-examinations of construction methods, structural and constructional logic, “decoration” has become a negative term that most architects tried to avoid. However, when we as architects engage in the practice of interior design, it is inevitable to confront decoration. From Cabana Flagship Store in Sanlitun North District in Beijing, to Cabana’s new locations in Jing’an Kerry Center and on Anfu Road in Shanghai, through our spatial experiments, we have been reflecting on how to give decoration its legitimacy.
In the Sanlitun Store, we created a series of “false” structural elements: from the dome, the triangular crossed beams, to the huge heterogeneous columns and drapery-like walls. In the Jing’an Kerry Store, we used various materials to clad the walls, manipulating the atmosphere of each area through the colors, textures and patterns of the materials. In Cabana Anfu Road Store, our concept is to create a new interior sub-space (or multiple sub-spaces) through a stage setting-like approach. A variety of structural elements – both functional and false – along with the superimposition of different materials are applied as elements of the “set”, while the tension and dramaticness of the space is the core of the design.
Apart from the “cabin” structure as the main theme, the central display area on the second floor is divided into two parts. The area directly accessible by the staircase is partitioned into nine small, regular spaces by beams and columns arranged in a tic-tac-toe pattern. Through revolving doors and sliding doors, we rendered these small spaces the possibility to be arranged and combined to adapt to different display themes. The doors are thick and wide, almost like movable walls. The revolving doors are clad with mirror finish stainless steel, while the sliding doors are clad with brushed stainless steel. The space therefore has been partitioned and at the same time extended by the dazzling play of light, which obscured the volume and form of the space. Gray paint, plaster, concrete in different shades, gray marble – the nuances of gray are superimposed with cladding stainless steel, together creating a neutral color tone as the background of the play.
Across the corridor and the cashier, the theme on the other side of the space is “color”. For some unknown constructional reason, there are several irregular-shaped walls pre-existed in this area of the building, we decided to keep these walls and made some more on purpose, covering them with the tiles specifically developed for this project by ourselves. The tiles come in three different sizes: 5x5cm, 5x10cm, and 10x10cm, each with three different finishes: glossy, matte, and coarse-grained. We took inspiration from the window latticework of traditional Chinese gardens to design a new pattern – or better to say, a “coding principle”, and then clad the walls with tiles of different sizes and textures according to the principle. These walls are colorful in deep red, dark green, mustard yellow, sky blue, beige, off-white, indigo and black. The various patterns and textures of the tiles endowed the walls a subtle shimmering effect, quietly and vividly, like a group of art installations scattered throughout the space.
Project location:298 Anfu Rd, Xuhui District, Shanghai
Project type:Interior design
Principle designer:Cai Wei, Philipp Buschmeyer
Design starting date:October 2020
Design finish date:December 2020
Construction starting date:December 2020
Construction finish date:May 2021
Interior space area (M²)600 m²
Lighting consultant:Lumia Lab
Contractor:Beijing Million Partner Construction Company Limited