Out-Of-This-World: KIKS Sanlitun Store by ROOI Design & Research.
ROOI Design & Research take us to another universe of retail where the infinite intergalactic world and fashion metaphorically collide. Taking cues from the majestic planets of the Solar System and principles found in classical Chinese painting, KIKS retail store is an interchangeable display that cleverly encapsulates a level of adaptability to accommodate the varied brands displayed within.
Located in Sanlitun, a fashion landmark within China’s capital, Beijing, ROOI Design & Research was commissioned for the multi-brand boutique that works as a stage to showcase emerging and well-established brands. At a generous 120 square meters, the interior is relatively straightforward in planning, with the entrance at the front, the retail area in the centre, and the changeroom and staff area at the back. Visitors begin their journey via a narrow waiting area before being sucked into a cylindrical transfer gate that takes them into an open space that holds a central display.
Inspired by the principles of traditional Chinese abstract painting, the retail space unrolls into a series of modules that morph in the display, catalysed by the flexible joinery. Centre staged on the floor area is a joinery capsule containing several layers of rotary display stands and walls that can be moved to change the porosity and circulation within the space. As the store is located on a corner of a glazed commercial building, occasionally the partitions also serve as vision barriers, inviting interest into the boutique. Some days the interior is completely exposed by pushing the display platforms forward; on others, it’s more secretive as the wall panels conceal the central volume and suspended clothesline display (that sometimes revolve, depending on the ensemble!).
While the colour aesthetic is an echo of the principles used within the Beijing imperial palaces, it’s also an homage to the hues that are found in outer space. The designers invite the visitors to be immersed in the “vast universe with numerous stars and feel a fine balance between motion and stillness” through the palpable colour arrangement. A mixture of deep greens, Mars Red, and Saturn Orange accent the walls against glossy black surfaces. Mirror panels wrap the interior core for a futuristic vibe that is complimented by thin clothing rails. Similar sentiment of chrome and grey is replicated in the change rooms and staff area, allowing the module to act as the true focus.
More importantly, the playful exploration allows the designers to employ imaginative textures felt in space. Against the red wall is textured stucco, punctuated with thin metal tubes that can be extruded into shoe brackets. The orange panels are ornamented in rammed-earth patches, akin to the surface of outer space. The marble green core in the centrepiece—a poignant reveal of finding growing life on a new planet.
A retail interior that flirts with the childhood dreams of space and creates a beautifully abstract field of view, there’s no denying that ROOI Design & Research imparted joy and glee into this interior. Evocative where it needs to be, and playful upon being personal with the space makes for one charming, out-of-this-world shopping experience.
[Images courtesy of ROOI Design & Research. Photography by Weiqi Jin.]