An interplay of dualities, Bestseller’s new Shanghai workspace offers a rose-tinted perspective on the future of fashion.
December 27th, 2021
Our outlook on the future is rosy: this is what Bestseller’s new workspace in Shanghai seems to be saying. The aim for the fashion group was “to provide an uplifting space for staff to work in,” says Inez Low, senior architectural designer at Linehouse, the Shanghai studio behind the space.
And for Bestseller, the new office was a chance to express their “progressive and technologically driven ways of working”.
Bestseller began life in Denmark in 1975. Today, the family-owned business has created an international empire, with 20 successful brands under its belt. Bestseller Fashion Group China, meanwhile, runs 7,000 stores across 500 cities in China.
When building their new workspace in Shanghai, Bestseller looked to Linehouse to help them create “an ultra-modern space that has a very sleek look and feel,” says Low.
Having worked on various WeWork spaces, among others, Linehouse was a fitting choice. The studio is well-versed in the needs of the modern office in the ever-changing workplace landscape.
At Bestseller, digital platforms and e-commerce are a major part of the business, so the new office needed to support current and future technology while reflecting the forward-thinking nature of the company through spatial design.
Setting a sleek, futuristic tone is the lightbox – a luminous length of stretched Barrisol – that runs along the exposed, blush-hued concrete ceiling.
Linehouse further emphasised the elongated nature of this space with a rosewood-coloured length of carpet that mirrors the lightbox above.
On either side of this runway-esque carpet are different work zones that support different ways of working. There is a workroom-style space on one side, with plug-and-play desk settings; on the other, there are meeting rooms, collaboration spaces, focus areas, a photocopier room, and a pantry.
These smaller activity-based spaces are wrapped in copper-hued hairline stainless steel panels that finish in curved edges, adding to the futuristic feel while keeping the look warm and approachable.
To ensure this workspace would be primed for the future, Linehouse introduced movable perforated stainless steel screens, and sliding whiteboard and pinnable walls.
These afforded Bestseller flexibility in terms of how it chooses to use its square footage. And to support Bestseller through shifting pandemic workplace requirements, Linehouse equipped the space with “a portion of desks that are movable, so that teams are able to spread out and avoid close contact,” says Low.
“Similarly, the stations on the boomerang desks can be thinned out for social distancing in times of stricter pandemic regulations, and stations can instead be positioned at the hot desks.”
Also supporting change are the flexibly designed live-streaming studios, which can be used as meeting rooms when they’re not being used for live-streaming.
“Bestseller relies heavily on digital platforms to showcase new fashion lines and items, hence, dedicated live-streaming studios are extremely important,” says Low.
In another bid to be forward-thinking, Linehouse brought sustainable materials into the space. The flooring is recycled custom vinyl, with cork flooring running through to the lounge area.
For all its futuristic vibes, the Bestseller office also acknowledges the past. The office is located on Jiu Jiang Road, which was a hub for silk trading in the mid-19th century, says Low, and later, home to the Shanghai Stock Exchange.
Designed to “mimic a stock exchange trading floor,” says Low, the office evokes the history of its location. Plus the set-up “allows teams to collaborate, and exchange ideas and information with ease.”
The new Bestseller office is, in this sense, a graceful blend of past and future. It subtly plays with dualities in other ways too.
Hard, industrial surfaces sit next to soft curves; cool grey walls and undulating grey marble tables are juxtaposed with timber panelling and shades of pink, ranging from crimson to rose gold through to salmon. The result is a workspace that feels futuristic, yet not cold. In fact, it almost glows.
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