Luxury eyewear brand Gentle Monster from South Korea has opened a flagship store, The Artisan, in Shanghai. It is on a tree-lined stretch of Huaihai Zhong Lu, an artery road in the former French Concession. Gentle Monster has opened several flagship stores in the past two years, in Seoul, Beijing, Hong Kong and New York City. Supervised by creative director Hankook Kim, the design concept for the store is loosely inspired by an artisan’s workshop, and features several rooms each with a distinc
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ctly different design. The settings are either functional or experiential, but always feature specially designed fixtures and furnishings to give each flagship store an individual touch.
Looking more like an art gallery than an eyewear shop, it includes kinetic art that produces sound, with a multi-layered entrance.
A feature is a motorised installment of wood and metal, appropriately named Sound Wave, that produces a repetitive dull sound with its flowing movement.
With a distressed wall, the Carpenter Artisan space holds a tree trunk on its side, its top resting on a pile of bricks from a broken wall. It is dissected by metal boxes, and expresses the process of crafting via a gradual transition from tree to lumbar. Other features include a fanned “stairway” of plans, a table full of wood shavings and timber “artworks”.
Behind the entrance ceiling light is a triangular wooden roof structure, formerly supported by the bricks that now lay under the tree in the wooden artisan space. It expresses the passion of artisans and their willingness to deconstruct and tear down in order to create something new.
With two circular rooms, the Metal Atelier of Artisan space features lines flowing in from the stairs and the black walls, expressing the processing of metal. The larger room shows raw metal with repetitive images of pipes, while the smaller room displays polished and machined metal.
To highlight the contrast between metal and wood, an installation inspired by the intangible sounds on the first floor features vertical boards on a stairway, indicating crafts flowing through the corridors and representing the resting mind of a troubled artisan.
Amid all this, the Shanghai store displays the brand’s full range of prescription eyewear and sunglasses, as well as collaboration models with brands such as Hood by Air, Opening Ceremony and Six Lee.