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Kuriosity Leads to Discovery

The latest edition to Shanghai’s K11 art mall is a store that’s sure to quench your curiosity with optical illusions and an enticing contrast of textures.

Kuriosity Leads to Discovery


December 7th, 2016

It may not seem it when you stumble upon Kuriosity’s shop front of neon lights and brushed steel, but Shanghai-based Studio Twist looked to the 17th Century’s cabinet of curiosities for the inspiration to bring an online store firmly offline and into a Shanghai art mall.

“We envisioned Kuriosity as a curated experience of discovery where products on display are supplemented with an additional layer of rich interactive media serving to attract and engage with the customer,” says designer Lip Chiong of Studio Twist.

The cornerstone of the design is a series of interactive display cases that are adaptable for the ever-changing range of products that Kuriosity will display.

The walls are inset with boxes of different sizes, each with two types of LED strip lighting and changeable coloured velvet lining.

“We thought of an eclectic collector’s room of curiosities and took inspiration from curiosity chambers of the 17th century where artefacts or archaeological items that are yet to be named or classified are showcased by placing them in a kind of arrangement,” Lip Chiong explains.

To give this display the room to shine, Lip Chiong and team originally proposed a muted colour palette. However, the team were encouraged by the client to go bolder.

The walls are cladded in blasted stainless steel panels to create a blurred reflection and depth; the floor is laid with ceramic floor tiles that have a metallic surface finish; and the ceiling features a powder‐coated expanded metal mesh.

Moveable display cabinets feature a back-lit frosted glass top and are cladded in brass-coloured metallic surfaces and recycled timber sheets.

“We wanted to push the boundary of what may be considered a safe designer look, and went for high contrasts between warm and cool, rough and smooth, shiny and matt and so on,” says Lip Chiong.

One of the key aspects of the client’s brief was for an adaptable space – it needed to showcase any type of product but also function as a space for workshops, talks, and even fashion shows.

Aside from the moveable timber-clad display cases, five light boxes are suspended from the ceiling with adjustable heights.

The different heights make for a lively composition in every day ‘shop’ use and can be hoisted up out of the way for open plan events.

Studio Twist’s piece de resistance and arguably their greatest challenge is the infinity window display, which is visible from the mall’s thoroughfare.

The walls, floor and ceiling reflect in such a way to give the space the feeling of an infinite portal.

The trick of the eye is not an easy one to create – the floor and ceiling panels are double panelled toughened glass with a reflective coating while the glass walls are separated by two coloured LED strips.

How did they do it? “A lot of long discussions and precise 3D modelling,” says Lip Chiong.

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