3Gatti stacks bamboo blocks to shape Shanghai's Alter Cube store interior

SHANGHAI – Francesco Gatti of 3Gatti looks to children's blocks to give an Alter Cube store a flexible spatial scheme along with an interior identity.

The Shanghai shop's owner wanted to upgrade an existing space by integrating a cafe restaurant and kitchen area into the retail programme. To cross the store's new functions with the retail world's fast-changing needs, designers opted for a flexible scheme of display boxes which can be easily moved. Stackable like childrens blocks, diversely sized wooden frames are arranged to carve internal passageways while displaying goods on shelves and racks. 

Since money doesn't grow on trees, 3Gatti maximized the teensy budget by excluding real wood as an option and instead chosing a material in local abundance: bamboo. With the wide variety of bamboo products available in the Chinese market – plywood, herringbone patterned board and pulp boards – the blocks could become retail reality.

Potentially a golden egg for the fashion mark's branding, Alter Cube's 'cubes' range in size to display clothing and accessories as well as contain couches and cashiers. Larger entities such as the fitting rooms, kitchen and reception area are also seamlessly included in 3Gatti's scheme with the possibility of being moved to other locations as needed.

Programme: Retail, Indoor Café, Outdoor seating
Architecture firm: 3GATTI
Chief architect: Francesco Gatti
Project manager: Valentina Brunetti
Collaborators: Davide Vallariello, Gilberto Polla, Ge Yi, Christina Kordova
Client: Sonja Long
Location: Xin Tian Di, Madang Road, Xintiandi Style Mall, Shanghai, China
Total floor area: 200sq-m
Design period: May 2015
Construction period: June 2015
Materials: plybamboo, herringbone bamboo, bamboo pulp, mirrors, concrete, steel

Photos Shen Qiang

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