- Mirrors and fluidity, MDO and the remake of a concept store in Shanghai
This type of design is based on visual elements recognised by those who have a certain "visual literacy", a term coined in 1969 by John Debes, the founder of the International Visual Literacy Association. Because contrary to what we are led to think, it is not enough to look to understand the message of what we see. The term, in fact, refers to a group of visual skills that a human being can develop by seeing and at the same time having and integrating other sensory experiences. Exactly what Jaycee Chui and Justin Bridgland from the MDO (More Design Office) studio used as the basis for the interior design of the renovated Atelier Miss Lu concept store on Shanghai's Shaanxi North Road to enhance the brand identity and image.
MDO, in fact, seeks to measure the space and tell the brand's emotions through architectural mindsets. This happens by interpreting brand culture, stimulating sales and driving business practices with the product and customer experience at the core.
These ideas are translated by the two designers thanks to a fluid interior design, where the new corporate image is adopted and expressed in the concept of a labyrinth and arches and the lines that define the different levels of the store. The curved and textured walls are in stark contrast to the metals of the shelves and furniture. Natural light penetrates through the windows protected on the top floor by a grate and is reflected on the ivory-textured walls and dark floors. This design gesture generates a fascinating geometric pattern of light and shadow, creating a quiet and poetic atmosphere in the store's spaces.
The clear separation of functions between the shared exhibition room and the private dressing rooms using an intelligent pattern of mirrors, help create a "democratic and artistic space where freedom is accentuated by order", as we read in the press release.
In designing the VIP rooms and the dressing rooms, MDO's creatives wanted to allow for experimenting with new commercial and sales practices, with the user experience always at the centre. Apart from abstract installations inspired by the female body, the fulcrum of the intervention are mirrors. As Jaycee Chui and Justin Bridgland explain: "When the mirror reflects the interaction between customers and space, between customers and products, and with themselves, the brand attributes are completed." These are rotating mirrors that allow customers to view themselves against different backgrounds and depths of field and at multiple angles. In short, a challenge on how we look and what we see at the end.
MOD has applied the same concepts outside, focusing on the harmonious integration of the store into the city, attentively taking up the curved and straight lines dictated by the city on the street side. By rotating the walls, the designers break away from rigidity in favour of greater transparency and dialogue with the store's surrounding urban context, starting from what passersby see when they look.
Project: MDO More Design Office
Location: Shanghai, China