The moniker of “urban theatre” may seem like a bit of a misnomer for a retail destination. But at least from the outside, Urban Revivo’s new flagship is reminiscent of a performance space, seemingly taking its cues from the International style of New York’s Lincoln Centre. Inside, however, racks upon racks of clothing — interspersed with change rooms, display shelves and seating — take centre stage.
Designed by Paris-based firm Jakob+MacFarlane, the store’s interior acts like a second street that runs parallel to the boulevard outdoors. Intended as a “spectacular showcase of urban life,” the building’s large, voluminous space continues to call to mind a theatre — or a futuristic train station. A glass and stainless-steel façade expands outwards, with fin-shaped walls — also part of the interior structure — jutting onto the neighbouring avenue. These interior structures are constructed from digitally-cut white plaster — a stark contrast to the sand-blasted concrete of the existing building.
Urban Revivo’s clothing ranges from the sober to the explosively colourful. To avoid clashing with either style, the store’s décor had to remain a blank slate — but it ended up being far from boring. “Metaphorically, we see it as a skeleton,” remarks the firm. It’s a bare structure, stripped down to its bones — but in this way, it can act as a tabula rasa, highlighting Urban Revivo’s wares and clothing.
On the top floor, a glass-walled bridge links both sides of the store with a catwalk intended for shows and after-hour events.
Despite its hard materials, the store still maintains a welcoming, almost residential air — likely due to the many plaster “walls” forming intimate nooks within the large space. Functionally, the modules serve as a unifying framework that integrates everything from staircases and change rooms to countertops and merchandise displays.
All of the store’s polished stainless steel furniture is arranged in solid lines, almost like benches along a sidewalk. The clear pathways formed next to these linear arrangements can double as runways for both organized and impromptu fashion shows, should the mood strike.
Jakob + MacFarlane’s theatre-inspired store design finds a receptive audience in Shanghai’s fashion district.