EXHIBITION _ Fashion and architecture collide this spring, when architects take over fashion windows in a Shanghai shopping plaza to showcase their talents during Shanghai Fashion Week for the RIBA Shanghai Windows Project 2014.
Now in its second year in China (and fifth year in the UK), the RIBA Windows Project matches a diverse range of cutting edge RIBA architects with international fashion brands to create innovative and sometimes thought provoking displays, demonstrating that architects can work at any scale, from something as small as a window to something as large as an entire building.
The project offers the participating retailers the chance to benefit from the unique design skills of architects and to do something experimental in a controlled 3 week display, while the architects gain the opportunity to promote their skills to a wide and diverse audience with a daily footfall of 50,000-60,000 in Shanghai's Xintiandi and Xintiandi Style shopping center.
The project is being repeated this year with a new group of architects including: Carl Turner Architects, Mamou-Mani with Arup Associates , Delvendahl Martin Architects, Divercity, Gundry and Ducker, Haptic, Laboratory for Explorative Architecture & Design (LEAD), Markus Jatsch Partners with Ballistic Architecture Machine, naganJohnson, and NEX.
As part of the project internationally renowned architects UNStudio were commissioned by Xintiandi to create a gateway installation for the mall: an extended mirrored corridor archway along Madang Road that frames the entrance to the Xintiandi mall.
Carl Turner Architects with Moleskine
Taking inspiration from international travel and the iconic Moleskine notebooks, Manser Medal and RIBA Award-winning architect Carl Turner created a city skyline using laser cut and layered Moleskine books to build up a busy metropolis in the store windows.
Delvendahl Martin Architects with fashion brand Ziggy Chen
In collaboration with Ziggy Chen, Delvendahl Martin Architects created a giant fabric lantern for the fashion designer's flagship store at Xintiandi. Inspired by traditional Chinese lanterns and shadow puppet theatre, the installation displays projections that blend patterns at different scales, ranging from fabrics to historical maps of the city, playing with visual perceptions of personal and collective space.
Divercity with Rubis Spa
Divercity created a forest of light and fabric to welcome visitors to Rubis Spa. Fibre optics and long threads are suspended from the ceiling to create a sensual and interactive hanging mass in the form of a Swiss snow mountain range, inspired by the Rubis Spa’s Swiss spirit. Movement activates the fibre optics and trails of light trace the visitor's presence and pathways.
Gundry and Ducker with jewellery designer PH7
Responding to the serene and balanced style of the PH7 silver jewellery range, Gundry and Ducker have created a layered perspective, influenced by Chinese landscape painting, which encompasses lotus flowers that showcase and draw attention to specific products.
Haptic Architects with fashion and lifestyle brand Ein
The EIN brand and ethos of “Elegance in Nature” is represented through a landscape and cloudscape, evoking the mountainous nature of the Nordic lands and dramatic skies. The cloud is made from hanging silk sheets and the landscape of timber, seemingly growing out of the shop floor and populated with mannequins that are dressed in matching fabric and take inspiration from Nordic fairy tales and forest characters.
Laboratory for Explorative Architecture & Design Ltd. with Sushibar Ichininmae
Audiences are captivated by the dynamic ‘breathing’ installation that highlights the entrance to Sushibar Ichininmae. The installation references the restaurant’s products with its lifelike marine form, appearance and behaviour. In front of the restaurant, a curling spine surfaces from the atrium floor - its flexible skin from colourful, iridescent scales slowly breathing; hypnotically capturing light, reflections and gazes from mesmerised spectators.
Markus Jatsch Partners (MJP) and Ballistic Architecture Machine(BAM) with shoe shop Pelle Moda
The architects created a sense of tension and drama by enshrouding the entire shop in a layered, translucent curtain that is illuminated and throws light across the mall. Five dioramas with scenes from an adapted fairy tale ‘The Empress’s New Shoes’ punctuate the curtains and further engage the visitor with the craft and art of Pelle Moda’s jewel-like shoes.
RIBA Shanghai Windows Pelle Moda
Mamou-Mani Architects with Arup Associates with fashion brand Davidson Tsui
Mamou-Mani and Arup Associates collaborated on the creation of a giant folded origami tree that hides "hidden treasures" only visible from small holes in the tree trunk or from inside the store. Smaller trees are placed inside the store holding special items and forming a colourful and surreal landscape.
nagan johnson with home and lifestyle brand Tayohya
Inspired by the well-being lifestyle ethos of the Tayohya store and by their popular handcrafted silk flower range, naganJohnson developed an artificial landscape in the form of enchanted flower-filled woodland which spills out of their storefront.
nex architecture with fashion brand Exception de Mixmind Memory Cloud
Responding to different aspects of the Exception de Mixmind fashion range, three organic clouds animate the shop exterior and interior. As people approach the delicate translucent forms they will recognise a low level sound being emitted from some of the cones. Each cloud expresses a different range of sounds - Nature, Craftsmanship, and City. The qualities of lightness, raw material, and detail will reflect the Exception de Mixmind identity.
The installations will be up 28 March - 5 May.